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Texas school administrator tells teachers to offer books with ‘opposing’ views about Holocaust

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An administrator at a Texas school district, responding to new laws banning critical race theory, was heard on tape suggesting that now teachers should offer students access to an ‘opposing’ perspective when teaching the Holocaust. 

The secret recording by a staff member captures Carroll Independent School District Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Gina Peddy. 

Carroll is located in the suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  

Peddy made the comments last Friday at a training session that provides information on which books teachers can keep in classroom libraries. 

The session was just four days after the local school board voted to reprimand a fourth grade teacher who kept an anti-racism book in her classroom after a parent complained. 

An administrator at a Texas school district, Carroll Independent School District Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Gina Peddy, responding to new laws banning critical race theory, was heard on tape suggesting that now teachers should offer students access to an 'opposing' perspective when teaching the Holocaust

An administrator at a Texas school district, Carroll Independent School District Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Gina Peddy, responding to new laws banning critical race theory, was heard on tape suggesting that now teachers should offer students access to an ‘opposing’ perspective when teaching the Holocaust

The session was just four days after the local school board voted to reprimand a fourth grade teacher who kept an anti-racism book in her classroom after a parent complained

The session was just four days after the local school board voted to reprimand a fourth grade teacher who kept an anti-racism book in her classroom after a parent complained

Peddy was referencing House Bill 3979, which requires teachers to present many perspectives when discussing ‘widely debated and controversial’ subjects.   

‘And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,’ Peddy continued, ‘that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.’

‘How do you oppose the Holocaust?’ one teacher asked.

‘Believe me,’ Peddy responded. ‘That’s come up.’

The subject continued, with one teacher asking if she would have to get rid of her copy of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, which tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of victims. 

Peddy was referencing House Bill 3979, which requires teachers to present many perspectives when discussing 'widely debated and controversial' subjects

Peddy was referencing House Bill 3979, which requires teachers to present many perspectives when discussing ‘widely debated and controversial’ subjects

Clay Robison, a spokesperson for the Texas State Teachers Association, which represents educators in the Lone Star State, says that the new law has nothing that explicitly governs classroom libraries

Clay Robison, a spokesperson for the Texas State Teachers Association, which represents educators in the Lone Star State, says that the new law has nothing that explicitly governs classroom libraries

State Senator Bryan Hughes, who wrote the senate bill that's going to go into effect in December, also believes the law is being misread

State Senator Bryan Hughes, who wrote the senate bill that’s going to go into effect in December, also believes the law is being misread

Carroll ISD spokeswoman Karen Fitzgerald said the district is trying to help teachers comply with the new state law and an updated version that will go into law in December.

‘Our district recognizes that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements,’ Fitzgerald wrote, noting that the district’s interpretation of the new Texas law requires teachers to provide balanced perspectives not just during classroom instruction, but in the books that are available to students in class during free time. 

‘Our purpose is to support our teachers in ensuring they have all of the professional development, resources and materials needed,’ she added. ‘Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.’

Fitzgerald advised educators unsure about book selection to speak to principals and curriculum coordinators.   

A spokesperson for the Texas State Teachers Association, which represents educators in the Lone Star State, says that the new law has nothing that explicitly governs classroom libraries. 

Clay Robison added that what was heard on the recording is overreacting and misinterpreting the law. 

‘We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history,’ Robison said. ‘That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it.’

One teacher asked Peddy if she would have to get rid of her copy of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, which tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of victims

One teacher asked Peddy if she would have to get rid of her copy of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, which tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of victims

An email sent a rubric asking Carroll ISD teachers to grade books based on whether they provide multiple perspectives and to set aside any that present one-sided narratives that may be considered offensive

An email sent a rubric asking Carroll ISD teachers to grade books based on whether they provide multiple perspectives and to set aside any that present one-sided narratives that may be considered offensive

Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter sent an email to parents denying the district was telling teachers to remove books

Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter sent an email to parents denying the district was telling teachers to remove books

State Senator Bryan Hughes, who wrote the senate bill that’s going to go into effect in December, also believes the law is being misread.  

‘That’s not what the bill says,’ Hughes said Wednesday. ‘I’m glad we can have this discussion to help elucidate what the bill says, because that’s not what the bill says.’   

Six teachers in the school district told NBC News anonymously that they were worried about retribution for discussing their concerns and claimed district leaders have not been clear on what they should be doing.  

‘Teachers are literally afraid that we’re going to be punished for having books in our classes,’ one educator said. ‘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?’

The debate at the Carroll district mirrors one being held nationally, where opponents of critical race theory and others opposed to lessons on LGBTQ issues are unhappy. 

A group of local parents have been fighting for over a year to stop new diversity and inclusion programs at Carroll.

On October 7, administrators told teachers in an email to close classroom libraries until they can be vetted by the teacher. Another email sent a rubric asking teachers to grade books based on whether they provide multiple perspectives and to set aside any that present one-sided narratives that may be considered offensive.  

Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter sent an email to parents denying the district was telling teachers to remove books.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight,’ he wrote. ‘The district has not mandated that any book be removed from teachers’ classroom libraries. Additionally, the district has not provided any training on removing books.’      



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