Try to imagine a high school tasking its students with making a logical argument to support the proposition that black people are evil. If you find that thought experiment too perverse even to imagine, substitute Jews for blacks, and there’s no need to use your imagination at all. It really happened, at a school in upstate New York.
The Epoch Times reports that Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard of the Albany School District apologized Friday for a writing assignment that asked students to “argue Jews are evil” while making a persuasive argument blaming them for the problems of Nazi Germany.
Wyngaard said the essay was part of a series of exercises intended to help students hone their persuasive writing skills. The assignment, first reported by the Albany Times Union, asked students to research Nazi propaganda, then assume their teacher was a Nazi government official whom they had to convince of their loyalty by arguing persuasively that Jews are evil.
The superintendent claimed that the assignment was the sole creation of the 10th-grade teacher, who has been removed from the class, adding that administrators are discussing what official action to take toward her.
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At a news conference Friday at the United Jewish Federation, Wyngaard said:
This assignment for some of our students at Albany High School [ed. note: only some?] was completely unacceptable. It displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate in our school community. I’m deeply apologetic to all of our students, all of our families and the entire community.
Shelly Shapiro, director of the Holocaust Survivors & Friends Education Center, also addressed reporters, stating:
After this unfortunate lesson we know that the Albany School District will rededicate themselves [sic] to teaching about how prejudice led to genocide and to help their students build a better community.
School officials say they don’t believe the teacher who gave out the assignment had malicious intent and that “it should have been worded differently.” It’s difficult to imagine a wording that would have made the assignment less pernicious.
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