6 May 2014, 17:13

US school asks teens to debate whether Holocaust was real tragedy or staged event

US school asks teens to debate whether Holocaust was real tragedy or staged event

A US school, located in Southern California, has asked teens to debate on whether the Holocaust was a real event or just a political plot to gain money and public influence. The homework assignment, given by the Rialto Unified School District to eighth-graders, has attracted harsh criticism and death threats over its Holocaust homework to the extent that the assignment has to be revised. "It was an error," district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said yesterday, according to the Associated Press. Numerous organizations, like the Anti-Defamation League, phoned up or emailed the educational facility objecting to the homework given off to students.

The assignment was given to students before spring break. The eighth-graders needed to write argumentative essays but had to use historical information to back up their claims. An 18-page handout could be used provided to them by their teacher and as well, credible resources could be used from the Internet.

Students were handed over the controversial assignment that reads as follows, "When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. You will read and discuss multiple, credible articles on this issue, and write an argumentative essay, based upon cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth," it stated in the Rialto homework assignment featured in an ABC News video clip. These very sentences stated above are the pieces of text that are being pushed to be revised in some way, so that it is deemed as acceptable.

One individual in particular made many phone calls to the local police department with very explicit death threats, according to Rialto police Caption Randy De Anda, as reported by komonews.com. To be more descriptive, the threats were directed toward Jafri and interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam, De Anda claims.

Protests did not take place on school grounds yesterday as the department does not take death threats lightly. De Anda pointed out that two other officers, besides him, were doing a security check of the campus. "We believe he (the caller) is a white male in his 30s. He did give us a name, but we haven't confirmed it yet so we don't know it he's a previous student," De Anda said according to komonews.com.

The calls have been recorded and when the police department finishes its investigation, the evidence will be sent off to the district attorney. According to Jafri, many teachers will meet up to make some revisions to the assignment. Additionally, Islam will have a discussion with the district's education services department to make sure all reference to the Holocaust "not occurring" are canceled out of any current or future research assignments.

"The Holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed," Jafri said, as stated on komonews.com, then added, "We believe in the words of George Santayana, those who cannot learn from history are bound to repeat it."


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