After initially defending it, a school district in the Inland Empire of Southern California has decided to modify a required English class assignment that instructed eighth graders to determine whether the Holocaust really happened or was just a “propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”
Mohammad Z. Islam, the interim superintendent of the Rialto Unified School District, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, has promised to “assure that any references to the holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research assignments,” reports Los Angeles television station KTLA.
“The holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” said district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri in a statement.
The Holocaust was the systematic mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews and up to 5 million other human beings in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied territories during World War II.
Conspiracy-minded Holocaust deniers – mostly white supremacists and various factions in Arab nations and Iran – argue that that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by Jewish people to advance Jewish interests.
The assignment contained 18 pages of instructions and sources. Of the three sources, two come from the websites History.com and About.com. The third is from a webpage on Biblebelievers.org.au entitled “Is the Holocaust a Hoax?” claims that the Nazi gas chambers and concentration camps were a fraud. The source declares that, in fact, no evidence exists showing that any Jews died in gas chambers. It also suggests that Anne Frank was a hoax.
“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” the source proclaimed. “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”
Amazingly, Jafri initially defended the assignment, telling KTLA that the purpose was to facilitate “critical thinking” skills among area eighth graders.
A group of Rialto school district employees called the “CORE team” will revise the assignment.
The word “CORE” relates to the Common Core Standards Initiative, which attempts to standardize K-12 curricula in English and math around the country.
This academic year, for the first time, 46 states and the District of Columbia began implementing all or part of the Common Core.
It’s not clear if the 26,000 student district’s “CORE team” designed the assignment, which dedicates one-third of its content to Holocaust denial.