Third-grader told to portray Hitler & commit suicide – reports
An instructor at a Washington, DC elementary school has been suspended after reportedly making third-graders reenact scenes from the Holocaust, including pretending to dig mass graves for their classmates and simulating shootings.
The incident allegedly took place during a library class last Friday at the Watkins Elementary School in the US capital, according to a Washington Post report on Sunday that cited an email from the school’s principal MScott Berkowitz. The staff member is also thought to have used anti-Semitic slurs.
The children had been working on a self-directed project, when the instructor apparently told them to act out scenes that included a train journey to a death camp and people dying in gas chambers, the Post reported. One student was told to portray Adolf Hitler committing suicide.
Although it is unclear what prompted the staffer to conduct the re-enactment, one parent told the paper that when the children asked why the Germans committed these acts, she had replied that they were angry “because the Jews ruined Christmas.”
BREAKING: @dcpublicschools investigates after 3rd graders say they were forced to reenact Holocaust. Lesson Fri. reportedly included simulated shootings, kids digging their own graves & a student playing Hitler. I spoke to a mom who didn’t want to be id’d. Latest on @fox5dc 1/2 pic.twitter.com/ysvY1bk4MC— Lindsay Watts (@LindsayAWatts) December 20, 2021
The instructor, who has been placed on leave pending an investigation, reportedly told the students not to tell anyone about the exercise, but they informed their homeroom teacher. The entire class later met with the school’s mental health response team, according to a letter sent out by Berkowitz.
“I want to acknowledge the gravity of this poor instructional decision, as students should never be asked to act out or portray any atrocity, especially genocide, war, or murder,” Berkowitz said in the letter, adding that there were allegations the instructor used “hate speech” during the lesson.
Speaking to the local Fox News affiliate on condition of anonymity, one parent noted that there was a “lot of sobbing and crying and distress,” and described the incident as “traumatic.”
This is a terrible corruption of a historical trauma that was inappropriate for eight- and nine-year-olds to learn about in this way and I am outraged.
The TV station also apparently contacted the instructor – it identified her as the librarian – who said “somebody was misquoting what happened in the library that day.” She denied there was any Holocaust-related reenactment or hate speech.