DC 3rd Graders Reportedly Made to Reenact Holocaust, Told It's 'Because Jews Ruined Christmas'
08:57 GMT 20.12.2021 (Updated: 13:27 GMT 06.08.2022)
In July, a swastika was found carved into an elevator at the State Department, which prompted President Joe Biden to declare that anti-Semitism "has no place in his administration or anywhere in the world".
A female staff member at Watkins Elementary School in Washington, DC, has been placed on leave after reportedly making third-grade children reenact Holocaust-related scenes and making an anti-Semitic remark.
The Washington Post cited an email by school Principal MScott Berkowitz as saying that the staff member, who was not identified and is now under investigation, told students in library class to dig mass graves for their classmates and simulate shooting the victims, with one pupil instructed to act as Adolf Hitler.
The instructor also purportedly claimed that the Nazis' actions during the Holocaust were "because the Jews ruined Christmas".
In the letter, Berkowitz underscored that he wants "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".
"Additionally, there were allegations of a staff member using hate speech during the lesson, which is unacceptable and not tolerated at our school", the letter read without elaborating.
DC Public Schools, in turn, insisted that the purported event was "not an approved lesson plan" and that they "sincerely apologise to our students and families who were subjected to this incident".
One "outraged" parent was cited by the US broadcaster Fox5DC as calling the incident "a terrible corruption of a historical trauma that was inappropriate for eight and nine-year-olds to learn about in this way".
15 December 2019, 15:23 GMT
The international Jewish non-governmental organisation Anti-Defamation League (ADL)'s Washington Chapter denounced the incident, vowing to offer "resources and support to help promote healing and education".
"We're horrified 3rd-grade students were instructed to reenact scenes from the Holocaust. Simulation activities trivialise the experience of victims and often reinforce stereotypes", the ADL underlined.
The past few months have seen a number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US capital, including one earlier in December, when swastikas and the N-word were scrawled on walls at Woodrow Wilson High School in northwestern DC.
Last month, vandals broke into a fraternity house at George Washington University, desecrating a Torah scroll, tearing it apart and covering it with detergent.
In July, US President Joe Biden tweeted that "anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my administration, or anywhere in the world" after a swastika was carved into an elevator at the State Department.