Teacher Placed on Leave After Making Third-Graders Reenact the Holocaust
In Washington, D.C., an elementary school instuctor was placed on administrative leave after organizing a reenactment of the Holocaust featuring a third-grade class.
Third-grade students at Watkins Elementary School were made to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, including mass gravedigging and simulated executions.
The staffer cast a Jewish student in the role of Adolf Hitler and was “told to pretend to commit suicide, as Hitler did” as the finale.
The unnamed staff member organized the reenactment during a “library class” wherein students were supposed to be researching a “self-directed project they would present to their classmates before winter break.”
Principal Scott Berkowitz emailed parents after the incident.
“I want 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,” Berkowitz wrote.
One parent told The Washington Post that “the instructor asked students after the reenactment not to tell anyone about it, but they told their homeroom teacher.”
The D.C. Public Schools’ Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity Team is investigating the incident.
The principal said the class met with the school’s mental health team.
“This was not an approved lesson plan, and we sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident,” a DCPS spokesperson told the Post.