Remarks by Texas school administrator on Holocaust books draw fire

·2 min read

Holocaust-related remarks by an administrator of a school district in a Fort Worth, Texas suburb are drawing nationwide attention, CBS Dallas reports.

In the remarks, secretly recorded by a staffer of the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake and given to NBC News, the administrator told teachers last week that they should offer students access to a book with "opposing" views on the Holocaust if they have a book in their classroom about the Holocaust.

NBC News says the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction, Gina Peddy, made the comment while training teachers on books they're allowed to have in their classroom libraries under a Texas law known as House Bill 3979.

CBS Dallas says the law covers the teaching of "critical race theory" in classrooms in the state.

NBC News explains that the law "requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing 'widely debated and currently controversial' issues.'"

In the recording, Peddy is heard saying, "Just try to remember the concepts of 3979 and make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives."

One teacher is heard asking in response, "How do you oppose the Holocaust?"

"Believe me," Peddy replies. "That's come up."

In response to the comments, Cheryl Drazin, Anti-Defamation League Central Division Vice President, told CBS Dallas in a statement that, "ADL Texoma is horrified by this trivialization of the Holocaust. There are no comparable books to 'balance' out this viewpoint. The suggestion that educators would misrepresent the Holocaust is such a way is incomprehensible."

A pair of Tarrant County, Texas Republican state lawmakers tweeted about the story Thursday night, CBS Dallas notes.

State Senator Kelly Hancock said, "School administrators should know the difference between factual historical events and fiction. Southlake just got it wrong. No legislation is suggesting the action this administrator is promoting."

And State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione said, "The Holocaust was a terrible event in human history based on ignorant hatred. It is not a currently controversial or even debatable subject – its occurrence is a fact. HB3979 does not require an "opposing view" and any idea that it would, is incorrect."

The district's superintendent, Dr. Lane Ledbetter, took to Twitter in light of the firestorm:

As the Superintendent, I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and news story. During the conversations with teachers, comments made were in no way to convey the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. To read full statement, see email.

— Carroll ISD (@Carrollisd) October 15, 2021

CBS Dallas has reached out to the district for comment.

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