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Texas School Told to Include Books with ‘Opposing’ Views on the Holocaust

By October 24, 2021News, Political

A Texan school administrator told teachers to include books that have ‘opposing’ views on the Holocaust in their school libraries.

Gina Peddy — executive director of curriculum and instruction for the district in North Texas– had to apologise after she made the remarks after a meeting discussing how best to follow guidelines introduced in a new House Bill in September 2021.

HB 3979 in Texas, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, states that a teacher may not discuss “a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs” unless the teacher then “explores such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”

This led to the suggestion that if the schools have books about the Holocaust in school libraries, then there should also be books that have “opposing” views of the Holocaust.

Texas school teachers are said to be upset and angry at the new guidelines introduced to limit discussions on the teaching and discussion of race and history in the classroom- known as Critical Race Theory.

Teachers have been reported as asking for clarification on why classroom books are being vetted, especially since the law is only supposed to apply to curriculum, not specifically classroom books.

After a meeting regarding new guidelines Peddy remarked:

“Just try to remember the concepts of (Texas House Bill) 3979,” Peddy told them. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has opposing, that has other perspectives.”

“How do you oppose the Holocaust?” one teacher exclaimed.

“Believe me,” Peddy said. “That’s come up.”

The district’s superintendent, Lane Ledbetter, apologised to the community:

“I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and news story released today. During the conversations with teachers during last week’s meeting, the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognise there are not two sides of the Holocaust,” the statement read.

“As we continue to work through implementation of HB 3979, we also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts. As a district we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologise for any hurt or confusion this has caused,” it said.

It will be interesting what these contentious guidelines mean for the teaching of Critical Race Theory, if they indeed don’t “require an opposing viewpoint on historical fact”.

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