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Teachers Told to Pair Holocaust Books With 'Opposing' Views

Southlake has it wrong, says lawmaker
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2021 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2021 6:30 AM CDT
Teachers Told to Pair Holocaust Books With 'Opposing' Views
   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – There's keeping to the letter of the law, and then there's what is happening in Southlake, Texas. A staff member with the Carroll Independent School District, which WAND reports is near Fort Worth, secretly recorded audio of a staff training regarding the books teachers can include in their classroom libraries. That recording was shared with NBC News, which reports it captured the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction asking teachers to "just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979," a new law under which teachers must include varied perspectives when discussing "widely debated and currently controversial" issues.

Gina Peddy advised: "Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives." A teacher asked how one opposes the Holocaust. Peddy's reply: "Believe me. That's come up." A rep for the county elaborated, saying that under the law, Texas teachers "are in a precarious position" where they are require to present those opposing perspectives both while teaching and in the books available to students in the classroom. But the man who wrote the bill, GOP State Sen. Bryan Hughes, says the law demands no such thing when it comes to the subject of "good and evil. ... That’s not what the bill says."

The Dallas Morning News cites a tweet from a Republican lawmaker who agrees. State Sen. Kelly Hancock writes, "School administrators should know the difference between factual historical events and fiction. Southlake just got it wrong. No legislation is suggesting the action this administrator is promoting." But one teacher whom NBC is not naming suggested confusion persists, "There are no children’s books that show the 'opposing perspective' of the Holocaust or the 'opposing perspective' of slavery. Are we supposed to get rid of all of the books on those subjects?" (Read more books stories.)

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