A Texas school administrator in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area was called out last week for training teachers to present "opposing views" or other perspectives on the Holocaust in order to be in compliance with a new state law that will go into effect on December 1st. The law requires teachers in Texas to present several opinions when talking with students about "widely debated and currently controversial" issues.
Gina Peddy, the Executive Director for curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District, made the comments at a training being conducted in response to the school board reprimanding an elementary teacher after a parent complained about an anti-racism book in the classroom. Peddy told the teachers, "And make sure if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives."
Once an audio recording of the comments surfaced, they were quickly denounced. Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, said, "We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history. That's absurd. It's worse than absurd. And this law does not require it."
Nevertheless, we thought we might offer a few opposing views to help them:
Hitler was a Zionist dedicated to the preservation of the Jewish people.
The 6,000,000 Jews who disappeared moved to Utah, thinking the Great Salt Lake was the Dead Sea.
The Jews asked to be gassed to death, and the Nazis were just complying with their wishes.
The Holocaust never happened, and neither did WWII, the moon landing, 9/11, and the Bee Gees were actually Soviet spies!
Those four suggestions have as much credence as any other Holocaust-denying doctrine. But why stop at the Holocaust. Should teachers have opposing views on 9/11? Maybe it was George Bush? How about opposing views on who really won the Super Bowl last year. How do we know Tom Brady isn't just a robot? And maybe there should be opposing views on who won the most recent United States election! (Oh, wait, scratch that last one!)
The bill's author, Texas state Senator Bryan Hughes (R), also denied that the new law requires educators to provide alternative views on matters of "good and evil"—" that's not what the bill says."
Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter posted on Facebook, "I express my sincere apology…the comments made (at the training) were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust…as a district, we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused."
Why would teachers be confused? Except for the fact that when you do encourage them to provide opposing views, you are suggesting that there were two sides to the Holocaust. We live in a day and age where truth is not as important as your truth. And if the truth hurts your feelings, you can come up with your own truth.
David Berstein, the founder of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, weighed in on the controversy, saying, "It should go without saying that it is absurd and outrageous to teach opposing opinions about whether the Holocaust, or slavery for that matter, happened. They are historical facts. There are, however, completely valid differences of opinion about how and why these monstrous evils were perpetrated, just as there are valid differences of opinion about the extent and impact of systemic racism in America today."
And Rabbi David Wolpe, one of the most influential rabbis in America, summed it up by saying, "The dispute about the interpretation of events is completely legitimate, but the dispute about the existence of events is either dangerous or stupid or both."