As a refresher, administrator Gina Peddy was recorded while talking to teachers in the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) about how they can comply with the new state law that mandates teachers to offer multiple perspectives on “diverse” and possibly controversial issues. Teachers pressed Peddy for clarity on how this law works in practice when stocking books in their classroom libraries. That’s when Peddy gave the example that if you have a book about the Holocaust, you also provide a book that gives kids “opposing” perspectives to balance it out.
The school superintendent issued an apology statement, saying the comments from Peddy were not made to suggest the Holocaust was “anything less than a terrible event in history” and that the district recognizes “there are not two sides of the Holocaust.”
Still, dozens of folks appeared at Monday’s meeting to speak, and for good reason. As of now, Senate Bill 3 (and, as referenced by Peddy, HB 3979) is a state law, but as we know, Republicans across the nation are eager to take anything they can if it means keeping constituents angry and distracted from things that actually matter, like the COVID-19 pandemic and police brutality.
Parent Rob Frost described himself as a descendant of Holocaust survivors. At the meeting, he called out the administrator’s comments as “completely unacceptable.”
Jake Berman, an alumnus of the district, shared a moving testimony that has already gotten some traction on social media. Berman shared that he experienced antisemitic bullying while attending the school and went on to stress that there are “not two sides” to the Holocaust, slavery, Jim Crow, or the racism and “same oppression” that continues to this day.
Here is a clip of Berman’s statement.
“I received everything from jokes about my nose to gas chambers,” Berman recalled. “All while studying for my bar mitzvah from a Holocaust survivor as my primary tutor.” Berman shared that he’d suffered from suicidal ideation and depression because of the bullying, and his parents eventually pulled him from the district because of it.
In the big picture, we know this Republican hysteria and ignorance doesn’t exist only in Texas. A number of states have introduced similar legislation or guidance and given the disturbing overlap between folks who are raging about CRT and refusing to wear masks, it’s worrisome that this legislative trend might pick up speed—and cause more and more harm to teachers, students, and families.