Teachers in Southlake, Texas were told that if they have a book about the Holocaust, they also need to have one that offers “opposing” perspectives, it was reported yesterday.
Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, allegedly made the remarks last week, a few days after a fourth-grade teacher received a complaint from a parent for having an anti-racist book.
In audio from a meeting that was secretly recorded by one of the staff members, Ms Peddy can reportedly be heard telling teachers to “remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979.” The bill refers to a new Texas law that requires teachers to offer differing views when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues.
Ms Peddy reportedly added: “Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing…that has other perspectives.”
One woman can be heard replying: “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” “Believe me,” Peddy appeared to respond. “That’s come up.”
Carroll spokesperson Karen Fitzgerald wrote that the school district “recognises that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements,” referring to the new law. “Our purpose is to support our teachers in ensuring they have all of the professional development, resources and materials needed. Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.”
Ms Fitzgerald added that teachers who are unsure about a specific book “should visit with their campus principal, campus team and curriculum coordinators about appropriate next steps.”
One Carroll teacher, who kept her identity anonymous, said that “Teachers are literally afraid that we’re going to be punished for having books in our classes. There are no children’s books that show the ‘opposing perspective’ of the Holocaust or the ‘opposing perspective’ of slavery. Are we supposed to get rid of all of the books on those subjects?”