SATURDAY, JANUARY 29, 2022
We note an additional point: In this morning's Washington Post, Colbert King writes a column about various forms of bigotry / group hatred.
(King: "Antisemitism is as vile as racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.")
King's column focuses on expressions of hatred or poor judgment directed at mere children. At one point, he recalls a forgotten event:
KING (1/29/22): D.C. residents can hardly tsk-tsk about events beyond our borders.
In December, third-graders working on a project in a D.C. public school library were directed to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, including digging mass graves and simulating shootings. One child, who is Jewish, was cast as Adolf Hitler, told to emulate him and pretend to die by suicide, according to a parent.
In addition to allegedly making other antisemitic comments during the staged reenactment, the school librarian, responding to a child who asked why the Germans did it, reportedly said: “Because the Jews ruined Christmas.”
Following parents’ complaints, the librarian was placed on leave and an investigation promised. The incident, confirmed by the school’s principal, was reported by The Post on Dec. 19.
This week, I called D.C. Public Schools to learn results of the Holocaust reenactment probe. After all, more than 30 days had elapsed. Schools spokesman Enrique Gutierrez told me “the investigation is still ongoing” and there was “nothing to report.”
Apologies all around, but I went off. No results, a month later?
After I demanded that he recheck, Gutierrez emailed several minutes later, “No information was shared with me, and the status of this investigation is still ongoing.” Where’s the outrage?
King complains about a (perceived) lack of outrage within the D.C. Public Schools. We'll also mention this:
This incident has basically been forgotten by King's own newspaper. Beyond that, it seemed to us that the incident was significantly underplayed within the Post at the time it came to light.
Based on what has been reported, a school librarian showed very poor judgment in that particular incident. Beyond that, questions arose about why this particular person had ever been hired by the D.C. Schools in the first place, given her bad record elsewhere.
Might we offer the following thought?
As we can see from this incident, teachers and librarians can sometimes show extremely poor judgment in the way they deal with heavily fraught topics. For the record, they can show extremely poor judgment in ways which may emerge from "the left" as well as from "the right."
Knowing what history to teach, to kids of what age, is not a simple assignment. Teachers should not be given free rein when it comes to such matters. Also, we should not assume that all examples of bad judgment will come from the other tribe.
Also, parents should be respected and listened to when they voice concerns about such matters. Sometimes, such parents may voice complaints which will seem unwise, overwrought, invalid. Sometimes, their complaints will have obvious or partial merit.
Teachers from our tribe can have poor judgment. So can teachers from theirs.