The Rialto Unified School District has now come forward to say that the class assignment in which 8th graders were supposed to argue whether the Holocaust was real or a vast hoax to make money was “horribly inappropriate.” As David Kurtz put it, no kidding.
But I’m not buying that we have the full story.
The District says the assignment was developed by a “small group of eighth grade teachers.” And understandably, with so much acrimony and controversy (even death threats to at least one school administrator), the District has declined to release the names of those teachers. But I simply don’t buy that you stumble into a situation like this because of cluelessness or having a tin ear. I think you do so because you are either an active anti-Semite trying to disseminate your views or you were reared in a climate of such ingrained anti-Semitism that this would come off to you as a reasonable idea.
Again, look at our piece yesterday on the actual assignment. When you look at the details it is considerably more shocking than the headlines would suggest. One of three suggested “sources” for the paper is the rankest kind of Holocaust denialism lifted verbatim directly from a known Holocaust denial site.
As I wrote yesterday, this didn’t happen just anywhere. It happened in a part of Southern California well-known as rife with Klan and neo-Nazi activity. This is well known in the anti-hate-group monitoring community. And I know it because I grew up nearby.
As I said, I get the desire not to release these peoples’ names in this kind of climate. What I’ve set forth above are strong and I think reasonable suppositions. But we don’t know if it was all the teachers involved or mainly just one or if – really improbably – each of them is just a monumental doofus who managed to stumble in good faith into such a terrible idea.
But much more than an apology is warranted here. I think the school district has a problem on its hands. And they should get to the bottom of it.