Holocaust Denial in 8th Grade

Someone needs to be punished.

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Comments (45)

(30) Regina, May 14, 2014 11:32 PM

They were aiming for publicity

The people behind this knew they would get into trouble but they also knew the event would get a lot of FREE PUBLICITY for the notion that the holocaust is not a part of reality like the sky is blue. Raising the question over and over in the media supports the objective of MAKING THE QUESTION LEGITIMATE. I agree, Rabbi Saloman, this IS a HATE CRIME.

(29) Markie, May 14, 2014 9:47 PM

Comparison

What would happen if an all white school in Nebraska had a 8th grade project on whether slavery ever happened in the US. Could you imagine the boycotts, riots and media coverage that would follow?

(28) Chana, May 14, 2014 1:12 AM

educate

This school should do a year-long project on the Holocaust involving intensive research and visiting Holocaust museums and survivors.

(27) Pauline, May 13, 2014 9:11 PM

Here is more information about the assignment.

After hearing this video, I was so furious. I did some research. This is what I found. See this article:

http://www.sbsun.com/social-affairs/20140507/angry-public-blasts-rialto-school-board-for-holocaust-assignment

The assignment:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/221649923/Rialto-Unified-Holocaust-essay-assignment

The research sites that the assignment offers the students to begin with:

http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Holocaust/websites.html

and

http://history1900s.about.com/od/holocaust/

(26) Anonymous, May 13, 2014 8:30 PM

This is HORRIBLE!!! That teacher should lose his/her license, and be charged with a hate crime, as well as any that knew of this plan, or should have known of this plan/assignment. All those teachers & administrators at that school should be required to go & 8th graders offered a field trip to go to the Museum of Tolerance. PLEASE keep us up to date on what more does or does not happen.

(25) Don Krausz, May 13, 2014 7:10 PM

Don't confuse people with facts.

I have lectured since 1985 on the Shoah at more than 500 schools in South Africa including German and Muslim ones.
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad convened a conference in Teheran to discuss the Myth of the Holocaust i wrote to every Moslem school in the vicinity and offered to come and talk.
My letter was signed: "From a Mythical Survivor." There was no response.

(24) Regina, May 13, 2014 3:31 AM

It was NOT A "MISTAKE"

The teacher and the superintendant knew exactly what they were doing - that's DELIBERATE. The apology is meaningless - what they're really "sorry" about is the flack they are getting. Anyone who was in anyway complicit SHOULD BE FIRED. This is not even penalty enough. A strong and clear precedent must be set - they must be punished as harshly as possible.

(23) Anni Good, May 13, 2014 12:33 AM

It was, indeed, hate speech!

You are so very correct. That assignment was a hate crime against children, Jews, and I my opinion Christians. But we are not in one of the protected groups of America anymore. Americas political stance is anti G-d and anti G-ds people.

(22) David, May 12, 2014 9:44 PM

Freedom from fear

Isn't it wonderful that we live in a society in which we can express our ideas freely, propose dissenting opinions even if some people may be offended, and search for the truth independently, without fear of prosecution by the government, without fear that we'll be condemned for questioning the prevailing viewpoints and lose our property and means of livelihood. What a difference from the Germany of the 1940's. Oh, wait.

Alan S., May 13, 2014 11:06 PM

Perhaps we need to fear people that like you...

Yes, the KKK have the freedom to proclaim hate speech. Does it mean we shouldn't fear them? Rhetorical question: Yes, we should fear people that espouse hate speech under the guise of protecting the freedom of speech. Same with you sir, you have a right to proclaim your comments, but sane people understand your comment to be no better than the hate speech of the KKK.

(21) Janice Kenner, May 12, 2014 6:00 PM

Who's to blame?

I read that Mohammad Islam, the superintendent didn't know about the assignment before it was given. Anyone responsible for the assignment should e thoroughly investigated. If there is any antisemitism, the person/people should be fired. If the problem is ignorance, the full horror of the holocaust should be taught. The people involved are either evil or ignorant. There is no other explanation.

(20) Anonymous, May 12, 2014 4:48 PM

How to take action

Where do we send our opinion? I teach The Holocaust to my 6th grade and would like them to send a letter to this school.

(19) ross, May 12, 2014 4:28 PM

Danger for the dis-attached

When I was in 11th grade, we had debate topics with our classmates. My topic was, "Was Hitler Good for Germany", with the pro side intending to discuss economy and unity. Luckily I got the con side, and I discussed the Germans being animals and everything they tried to do.
It's not the same as in the case of Holocaust denial, but just to mention that I remember that I needed lots of help to present my side since I knew nothing about the Holocaust (and evidently, either did my Jewish opponents in the debate).
So for those of us who were or are dis-attached from this period, even just hearing about the idea of denial can be lethal. We trust our authorities.

(18) Lynne, May 12, 2014 12:52 PM

responsibility and remorse

The first reaction of the school district was to defend the assignment -- which was given to 2,000 impressionable 8th graders. I will know that the school board has made tshuva, when -- in addition to the apology -- I see a plan in place to prevent this from happening again. The board can start by setting up the "internal checks and balances" that the school board president said were missing. It can also require mandatory visits to the nearby Museum of Tolerance -- which deals with prejudice and racism all over the world. An apology should be just the beginning.

(17) Bonnie, May 12, 2014 12:21 PM

Fire them all

Not only should the teacher in question, the principal, and the school superintendent be fired, but their licenses should be permanemtly revoked. There is no acceptable excuse for allowing the teacher in question to continue "teaching" young learners. And, to "anonymous," I am a retired related service professional with nearly 21 wonderful years in public and private school settings and am very loyal to teachers who care about children and truth and excellence in teaching.

(16) John Vermeer, May 12, 2014 5:22 AM

8th Graders Are Testing the Waters

When I was first out of college I taught 8th graders, and I can tell you, they are notorious limit-testers, and going through a somewhat nutty phase in their development. They turn out fine but during those middle school years they do things like this. And yes, they definitely need to know the seriousness of their silliness and receive a good talking to. But in a few years their brains will develop and they'll become fine human beings!

Jewish Mom, May 12, 2014 8:29 AM

It wasn't the 8th graders testing limits!

The 8th graders didn't give themselves the assignment - it was their teacher! S/he wasn't a silly adolescent testing the waters, but an evil, anti-Semitic adult trying to implant Jew-hatred into his/her impressionable, young students who may turn out fine, no thanks to their teacher.

Brian Weaver, May 13, 2014 4:50 AM

John Vermeer

Really? Next comment, please listen to the video, at least a little. You claim to be educated. Please. This is serious, and on the video itself, I believe the superintendent really had to know and push this, Mohammed Islam? The name says it all, it was a hate crime from a superior and a teacher he could easily influence. As the Rabbi said, this is a slippery slope.

(15) Brian A.Donnelly, May 12, 2014 12:18 AM

Turn the tables ?

As a devout Christian, and staunch supporter of Israel and G-d's chosen people, it offended me deeply to hear of this transparent ploy to influence the minds of young school children.
I would suggest that this same misguided school be directed to issue another school assignment titled " Was muhammad a paedophile because he married a 12 year old girl ?" and encouraged his followers to follow his example.
I think we both know where this would go ?
Yes, freedom of speech is highly valued but not at the price of the
price of the common good.
Shalom.

(14) Anonymous, May 11, 2014 9:55 PM

Tip of the iceberg

This story as shocking as it is does not surprise me in the least. I have felt for years that anti Semitism is on the rise in this country. It has always been there, under the surface, and it is beginning to come to the surface. We as Jews need to be vigilant.

(13) Mati, May 11, 2014 7:42 PM

Mike Moses superintendent LISD

(Lubbock Independent School District) issued an "edict" telling teachers to send kids home that were displaying or wearing the Magen David sign since it was a "Satanic symbol." After much public outcry the publication was rescinded.

Akiva, May 12, 2014 5:09 PM

When?

I couldn't find reference to this online. When did this supposedly take place?

Mati, May 14, 2014 6:37 PM

Lubbock ISD

In the eighties or nineties. I have the entire paperwork for what happened including the issued document in Lubbock. I will be returning there next month for two months, then returning back to Israel. The Reform rabbi is retired now but he still lives there (I think). They included the oriental ying-yang, the Islamic moon and star, and various other symbols. They claimed that all these "were used in Satanic rituals." But the upright cross (of christianity) is used more than any symbol (as it properly stands as well as upside down), in Satanic rituals yet that one was not banned. If you want me to provide you the information, I will be glad to scan them and email them to you. I give Aish the authority to provide my email address to anyone desiriing this information and I will try to look up myself on the internet to see if I can find anything online.

(12) zelda zieselman, May 11, 2014 7:37 PM

That school should show the movie, Paper Clips.

Paper Clips as you know is about a young children in a school in Tennesse who used a cattle car to put millions of paper clips in it for each innocent persons, not only jews, who were killed during that horrible era.

(11) Craig Shere, May 11, 2014 7:36 PM

letter to Rialto BOE

Found email contact for the Rialto BOE via Google search for web site.

Sent all BOE members following email letter and posted letter on my Facebook page.

"Dear BOE for the Rialto Unified School District,

I'm aghast to have heard about the institutionalized hatred/racism that was planned for your school district. An assignment asking 8th graders to evaluate the reality of the holocaust is either the creation of very hateful/prejudiced minds or incredibly ignorant people. Either way, individuals responsible for such remarkably inappropriate "curriculum" ought to be immediately fired.

How would you react to staff coming up with a "critical thinking" assignment for 8th graders to question if slavery ever happened? Or if it happened, to determine if the slaves benefitted and wanted the institution? Or how would you react to a "critical thinking" assignment questioning if 200 school girls were just abducted by Nigeria's Boko Haram? Perhaps you'd like your children to decide if this story was a fictitious western plot to undermine Islam and embarrass the Nigerian government? After all, what's wrong with evaluating the facts and deciding 2 2 = 5? Isn't that everyone's right?

Of course these things are wrong. It's wrong because it promotes hate. It's wrong because it limits rather than expands the minds of the youth you are obligated to teach. It's wrong because such teaching has nothing to do with training children to participate in the global market place, to add value to society and obtain gainful employment. An apology for such disgraceful execution by public servants is not enough. Those who devised such an insidious plot to pollute the minds of children should be forever banned from association with any youth. Lacking any enforcement action, your apology for such vicious malevolence is not accepted. The eyes of America are upon you.

Sincerely,
Craig K Shere"

(10) Evelyn S. Dow, May 11, 2014 6:04 PM

disgusting assignment for 8th graders- Very ill advised

I can't believe that some school would do this. I say keep teaching about the Holocaust. It did occur. there are numerous accounts in books, videos, etc.
This teacher and his supervisor need to be required to learn about and then dismissed.

(9) Haim, May 11, 2014 5:07 PM

Deleted comment

This comment has been deleted.

Linda Wertheim, May 11, 2014 7:49 PM

Haim you are completely wrong.

The holocaust is a fact. There are no valid articles to the contrary. As Rabbi said. You do not debate facts!

Anonymous, May 11, 2014 8:02 PM

Mohammad existed?

How about having the students prove that Mohammad ever existed. "Someone" would probably bomb the school and all of its inhabitants. Gee, Haim, it's getting the children to think.

Keith, UK, May 11, 2014 11:11 PM

NO

Haim,
I believe you are WRONG.

Alan S., May 12, 2014 11:18 AM

Duh! You think??

Haim is wrong. Keith, you don't have to believe.

Alan S., May 12, 2014 12:31 PM

Oy!

Haim, your comment only serves to prove what is often attributed to PT Barnum. And you're that rare one in a crowd that tries to find the "good" where none exists. Haim, if a close family member of yours was murdered in a concentration camp, you would not think this assignment had any merits. You need a lesson in humility.

(8) honeybee, May 11, 2014 4:35 PM

Disgraceful, but remember the parents of the students were the first to complain about the assignment and demand it be rescinded..

(7) Ellyn, May 11, 2014 3:37 PM

Where do we go from here?

Agreed, this needs to be dealt with. So start a change.org petition or tell viewers who to write to. If we want to make a change, this video and monologue leaves us hanging. Please follow up with an actionable call to action so viewers can do something.

Anonymous, May 11, 2014 7:08 PM

Holocost Denial in So. CA

Yes, start a petition so we can participate. It won't stop with the Muslim teacher as they're all over the US. It's bad enough they brainwash their children from birth with hate and bigotry.

(6) LoriQ, May 11, 2014 3:26 PM

Why the Denial?

I will never understand this type of hatred or level of denial when there is a plethora of established fact surrounding the Holocaust. I am not Jewish, however, my best friend is. When I met her mother years ago, I noticed a number tattooed on her forearm. Later, I heard her story of how she was transported to Auschwitz as a child in the summer of 1944. Fortunately, she survived, but her losses were great and beyond my comprehension as a human being.

Every time I hear someone spewing vitriol or "educating" people that the Holocaust never happened, I always think of my best friend's mother and her tattoo. There is absolutely nothing "made-up" about that ugly, bluish brand on her person. It takes your breath away, it makes you realize that you are peering thru a window of history and a window of evil. It is something one never forgets.

To deny this event is to deny all of the souls that were cruelly hunted, harmed, tortured, and murdered by the wicked amongst us. It breaks my heart to see and know that people still continue to erase history for their own odious agenda and convenience.

I wish, for just one moment, such a person could walk in the shoes of the persecuted, the hunted, the harmed, the tortured, the maimed, the murdered. To have their eyes opened, to choose peace and love instead of war and hate. None of us can stay quiet, regardless of our political, religious affiliation, skin color, race, ethnicity, gender, we all must speak out against this covert and overt hatred.

"All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke.


Chavi, May 11, 2014 7:47 PM

Right on

You have it so right and you expressed it so beautifully! Thanks so much!

(5) Dan, May 11, 2014 3:22 PM

Look at the broader picture

While I agree that harsh steps should be taken (but not making Holocaust denial illegal, which in the US is blatantly unconstitutional), we should recognize from this episode that IT CAN HAPPEN HERE. US Jews are so comfortable and feel so secure that we think a Holocaust or something similar couldn't happen in the good old US of A. Think again. That's the real message we should be getting.

(4) Anonymous, May 11, 2014 2:59 PM

Two-Way Street

Yes, this was definitely a horrible, anti-Semitic act. However, stressing the name of the superintendent of schools, implying that this action was a result of HIS religious beliefs, shows an underlying prejudice on your part. All Muslims are not anti-Semitic, and your implication was offensive to me as a Jew. If someone made such a statement about a "Cohen," I'm sure you would be offended.

Mati, May 11, 2014 7:38 PM

Wake up and smell the coffee

Wake up!!!!

Anonymous, May 12, 2014 11:22 AM

This is not a 'two-Way street'

I am not speaking for Rabbi Salomon, but it is likely he would have stressed the name Cohen more than a muslim name. And the same too for an obvious Christian name. Incredulity goes back to you, anonymous.

Anni Good, May 13, 2014 12:39 AM

Are you "SERIOUS"?

Of course this teacher did this assignment because he is Muslim. Muslims who truely follow their faith must hate the infidel. This means Christians and Jews. You should keep yourself Anonymous. That is fitting to your coment.

(3) Anonymous, May 11, 2014 2:52 PM

fire the teacher???? always the teacher ( who probably submitted lesson plans in advance as is usually required) FIre the PRINCIPAL and fine the superintendent. and make them sponsor some sensitivity forum. Always the teacher! Spend a day in any school to find out what kind of "party line" is spewed. Thanks for the info

(2) Lisa, May 11, 2014 2:18 PM

Saddened & disappointed, but not surprised!!

This episode just has to make us stronger & louder!! Keep teaching about be Holocaust....watch the movie Paperclips, go to the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC...& just keep strong & LOUD!!
And fire those anti-Semites ASAP!

(1) Nancy, May 11, 2014 9:54 AM

I would go one step further here. The teacher AND immediate supervisor should be fired. How did this assignment even make it to the classroom? Where was the teacher's supervisor in all of this?

 

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