Curriculum

Holocaust Books Must Be Countered With ‘Opposing’ Views, Texas School Administrator Says

By Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News — October 15, 2021 | Updated: October 17, 2021 2 min read
A book about David Boder's recordings of concentration camp survivors sits next to one of his wire recorders on display at the University of Akron's Center for History of Psychology on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 in Akron, Ohio.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A senior school administrator in the Lone Star State was recorded telling educators that if they’re going to keep books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they must also stock material representing “opposing” views or “other perspectives.”

NBC News has obtained a recording that it says features Carroll Independent School District executive director of curriculum and instruction Gina Peddy explaining to teachers that House Bill 3979 requires them to offer alternative information when it “comes to widely debated and currently controversial.” That, by her account, includes the systematic execution of millions of people — mostly Jews — at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

“Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives,” Peddy said.

When one teacher asks, “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” Peddy replied, “Believe me, that’s come up.”

A teacher can be heard saying educators are “terrified” of changes being made statewide, for which Peddy said she was sympathetic. She acknowledged teachers are caught up in a “political mess” and that they have her support.

Update

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter later apologized for the “online news story” and said “there are not two sides of the Holocaust.”

The recording reportedly came from a training session in Southlake that took place after a fourth-grade teacher was reprimanded when one of her students brought home a book called “This Book Is Anti-Racist,” which upset the child’s mother.

Several Texas education policy experts agreed Peddy was misrepresenting the nature of the new guidelines.

“We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history,” Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison told NBC. “That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it.”

An East Texas state senator who wrote Senate Bill 3, an updated version of the House bill that goes into effect next month, also told NBC, “That’s not what the bill says.”

A spokeswoman for the suburban Fort Worth district where the meeting was recorded said, “Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.”

She said teachers who are unsure about specific books should consult their school’s principal for direction. The district also said last week’s meeting was not planned in conjunction with the rebuke of the fourth-grade instructor.

NBC spoke to a half-dozen Southlake teachers under the agreement of anonymity. They expressed concern about being disciplined over reading material they provide to kids.

“There are no children’s books that show the ‘opposing perspective’ of the Holocaust or the ‘opposing perspective’ of slavery,” one educator said. “Are we supposed to get rid of all of the books on those subjects?”

The recording of Peddy’s comments ends with teachers discussing privately what they had just experienced.

“They don’t understand what they have done,” one educator said. “And they are going to lose incredible teachers, myself potentially being with them.”

The latest drama in Texas comes amid conservative protests to “critical race theory,” which the Texas Tribune calls “an academic discipline that holds that racism is inherent in societal systems that broadly perpetuate racial inequity.”

Academic experts reportedly accuse some Republican leaders misrepresent the academic framework of CRT and the extent to which it’s even being taught. It has become a rallying point of right-wing media outlets including Fox News.

Copyright (c) 2021, New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
K-12 Cybersecurity in the Real World: Lessons Learned & How to Protect Your School
Gain an expert understanding of how school districts can improve their cyber resilience and get ahead of cybersecurity challenges and threats.
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Schools 101: Best Practices & Key Benefits
Learn how to develop a coordinated plan of action for addressing student trauma and
fostering supportive, healthy environments.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum The World Cup as Teachable Moment? How One Teacher Approached It
It's not just a game: Geopolitics are inscribed into the soccer championship, giving teachers an opportunity to host rich discussions.
3 min read
Josh Sargent of the United States controls the ball during the World Cup, group B soccer match between the United States and Wales, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.
Josh Sargent of the United States controls the ball during the a World Cup match between the United States and Wales in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 21.
Francisco Seco/AP
Curriculum Nearly 300 Books Removed From Schools Under Missouri's 'Sexually Explicit Materials' Law
Missouri's efforts to remove books from public schools—either temporarily or permanently—go farther than most.
5 min read
Banned books are visible at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system, in New York City on Thursday, July 7, 2022. The books are banned in several public schools and libraries in the U.S., but young people can read digital versions from anywhere through the library. The Brooklyn Public Library offers free membership to anyone in the U.S. aged 13 to 21 who wants to check out and read books digitally in response to the nationwide wave of book censorship and restrictions.
Several titles in this display of books in at the Central Library in New York city are on Missouri's banned books list. The N.Y. library allows young people anywhere to read digital versions of the books.
Ted Shaffrey/AP
Curriculum More Teachers Say Their Curriculum Aligns to Standards. But It Still Falls Short
About one in four teachers said they spent $300 or more of their own money on instructional materials last school year.
3 min read
An open book with scattered letters, graphs, math symbols and shapes floating on a dark blue background.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Curriculum Q&A Why Media Literacy Programs Need to Put a Spotlight on 'Stealth Advertising'
As advertising evolves, digital literacy education must change with it.
3 min read
Illustration of numerous computer windows overlapping with creepy eyeballs inside the close, open, and minimize circles within the various window screens.
Daniel Hertzberg for Education Week