A DC teacher has been sent on leave after she allegedly male third graders in the school's library to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, where the students were required to pretend to die in a gas chamber. She also asked one of the Jewish students to play Adolf Hitler, according to a student's parent.
The instructor, who went unnamed in an email to the students' parents from Watkins Elementary School's principal, was placed on leave last Friday. Both parents and the school authorities are shocked at the teacher's insensitive actions and now want her fired.
On Friday, third-graders were asked to go to the library class after a different self-directed project was cancelled. The female teacher then asked them to simulate the scenes from Holocaust during the allotted research time, according to a Washington Post report. She asked the students to re-enact scenes where they were required to die in the gas chamber.
However, the instructor didn't stop there. She even asked a Jewish student to enact the role of Adolf Hitler in the bizarre assignment, according to another student's parent. At the end of the re-staging, she asked the student to act out the leader of the Third Reich's suicide, which saw Hitler shoot himself dead.
The incident has since made parents furious leading to an investigation. Principal MScott Berkowitz said that originally, the students were attending their library class to do a self-directed project ahead of winter break. But the teacher came up with different plans and asked them to utilize their research time in enacting scenes from the Holocaust.
"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 an email to parents.
When asked by the students why the Germans had committed genocide, a parent told the Post, the teacher reportedly replied it was "because the Jews ruined Christmas."
According to reports, the teacher had specific roles for every student. It's not known how many students were there in all for the library class but one student was allegedly also had to pretend to be on a train to a concentration camp.
Some parents have also alleged that the instructor was making anti-Semitic statements throughout the class and that she apparently asked the students not to tell anyone about the re-enactment once they were done. However, the students went back to their classroom and reported the incident to their homeroom teacher.
An investigation has been launched following complaints from the parents. If proven guilty, she might also get fired from her job. The school district has also been reported about the incident. "This was not an approved lesson plan, and we sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident," a spokesperson for DCPS said.