My response to NY District Mulls Action for Nazi Assignment
Recently, I read the article, NY District Mulls Action for Nazi Assignment and wrote a response to it. Here is what I wrote:
I am the voice for those who no longer have a voice. After reading the article NY District Mulls Action for Nazi Assignment, I was appalled that a teacher would have students “”argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” I get the point that the teacher was trying to focus on the power of propaganda. But the possibility a student could actually end up believing the propaganda as fact and leave with the impression that Jews are evil should have made the teacher stop.
I understand that some people are so ignorant to think that the Holocaust never happened (which doesn’t make sense since there is evidence to prove it), however shouldn’t a teacher fight to defeat such ignorance? I believe there is a fine line between denying a point in history and blaming an entire religious group for something. I have a very strong connection to the Holocaust, which is what makes this assignment so upsetting. Not only were my grandparents Holocaust survivors, but also when I was twelve years old I created a website www.myjewishlegacy.com to preserve and document the stories of Holocaust Survivors. I take it upon myself to create a permanent remembrance to the horrors that Jews experienced. It is because of people like this teacher that there is still such discrimination and hatred between people who aren’t the same. I applaud the Albany students who refused to do the assignment, but I continue to wonder about those that didn’t refuse?
Are students today really that naïve to just ‘go with the flow’ on this matter? Did the students feel pressured by their teacher to do the assignment? Did they only want to make a good grade? In this situation the grade doesn’t matter. It is important to stand up for those who were victimized and especially stand up for what is right. The actions of this teacher make me question her morals. The fact that the superintendent states the teacher had “no malicious intent” I think is a bunch of nonsense. Does the superintendent really feel the need to defend a faculty for something this controversial? In my opinion, the teacher should be fired or have some serious consequences.
Some people are responding to this article saying that the teacher is a victim because the teacher isn’t allowed to get the students to think creatively. But the teacher missed an opportunity to teach her students to be the voice for those whose voice was silenced. This assignment was not teaching propaganda, it was teaching students to be anti-Semitic and ultimately teaching them to blame the Jews. This incident just proves how ignorant people are. We need to take it upon ourselves to continue Holocaust education and involve future generations to keep survivor stories alive. If we don’t, then we might have more assignments blaming racial, ethnic, or religious groups for the world’s problems. Anti-Semitism and all sort of racial bias still exist today, and we need teachers who are going to teach students to stand for something positive, and fight for justice.