Carroll ISD apologizes as criticism mounts over Holocaust instruction to school teachers

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Carroll school officials are facing harsh criticism over an administrator’s statement that teachers should include books with opposing points of view if they have books about the Holocaust in their classrooms.

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, along with the National Education Association and the Texas State Teachers Association, issued sharply worded statements Friday.

“The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is appalled to learn what was suggested by the Administrator at Carroll ISD. The district’s response illustrates the dangers of this new legislation – mandating that historical facts be taught alongside an opposing view.”

The statement went on to say that the Holocaust is one of the world’s most documented historic events.

“Should the beliefs of Holocaust deniers be provided as ‘opposing views?’ When students learn about slavery, should they also be forced to read accounts that deny the horrors of slavery?”

Teachers should not be pushed to present myths and opinions as equal to the historical record, according to the statement.

Teacher training session recorded

Last week, a teacher recorded a training session about a new state law requiring teachers to present different perspectives when teaching about widely debated and controversial issues and gave the audio recording to NBC News. The law takes effect in December.

Carroll’s director of curriculum and planning told teachers that if they had books in the classroom about the Holocaust that they needed to provide materials with opposing views.

Superintendent Lane Ledbetter sent an email to parents late Thursday apologizing for the “online news story” and telling parents that “the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history.”

Ledbetter also said the district recognizes that there are not two sides to the Holocaust.

“As a district we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused,” Ledbetter said in the email.

The NEA and TSTA issued a joint statement that said the Texas law, HB 3979, hinders teachers from engaging students’ critical thinking and curiosity.

“These intentionally confusing constraints on honest curriculum have no place in our public schools in Texas or elsewhere,” according to the statement. “Our students are listening and watching what we do.”

The training was held during the same week that the school board voted to request that a fourth-grade teacher, Rickie Farah from Johnson Elementary School, have a reprimand placed in her personnel file after a parent complained about an anti-racist book in her classroom, even though administrators did not find the teacher was at fault.

The book in question is called “This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action and Do the Work.”

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