A Southlake Carroll schools leader recently told teachers that, should they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have materials that show an “opposing” perspective, NBC News reported.
The news outlet — which has chronicled the deeply divisive fight in Southlake over how to teach race and racism in schools — obtained an audio recording from a district meeting that included discussions about how to comply with a new Texas law, which lawmakers say was intended to bar “critical race theory” from classrooms.
From the start, educators vehemently opposed the bill, saying it was vague and would have a chilling effect on their ability to have honest conversations about America’s past and present.
The new law — similar to ones passed in other conservative states — lists several broad topics that can’t be discussed and sets guidelines for talking about “controversial” subjects. It comes as conservative pundits and politicians have conflated critical race theory with schools’ diversity and inclusion efforts and anti-racism training, among other ideas.
“Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Gina Peddy, a Carroll administrator, said in the recording obtained by NBC News. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”
A teacher responded: “How do you oppose the Holocaust?”
The author of a similar Senate bill, Sen. Bryan Hughes, denied that this was a proper interpretation of the new law.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, wrote on Twitter that “Southlake just got it wrong.”
“School administrators should know the difference between factual historical events and fiction,” Hancock wrote. “No legislation is suggesting the action this administrator is promoting.”
A district spokeswoman did not immediately return a call requesting comment. In a statement to NBC News, Karen Fitzgerald said the district “recognizes that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements.”
“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,” she said.
The comments stirred outrage. Texas Democratic Party Co-Executive Director Hannah Roe Beck condemned actions she called “terrifying.”
“We’re seeing books banned, educators reprimanded for teaching authentic history, and kids deprived of their right to learn about the world they’re growing up in,” she said in a statement. “Texas Republicans are censoring education to pander to rightwing extremists — and putting Texas families and kids in danger while they do.”
Ok, friends, gather round. That little squib is from the Dallas Morning News. Southlake, TX is a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth. It aspire to be a “world class” community. Whenever I hear that phrase in Texas, I know a disaster awaits. If you are truly “world class,” whatever that is, you don’t brag about it. Nothing “world class” does.
Tonight, my spouse insisted that I listen to NBC News. She knows I don’t particularly like television of any sort, other than baseball–and even that has fallen off the radar lately. So she rarely insists. I wondered what on Earth was so important. After all, Bill Shatner lost his dignity yesterday. Aboard the flying phallus. What more did I need to see?
I have friends who live in other parts of the United States. Like California, Washington, New York, you know, even Florida, for God’s sake. They ask me, “How can you live in Texas?” I try not to get annoyed. But the truth is, I get very annoyed. Because I know, even as they ask, I ask the same question. What in God’s name am I doing here? I sort of addressed that in my last blog post. And I’m not about to go over it again. Dallas is a long way off, thank God. I don’t ask my friends in Philly how they can stand to be in the same state as York or Erie? It might not be the dumbest question I could ask, but it would be close. They would be baffled, if not insulted. What the Hell does that have to do with living in Chestnut Hill or Penfield. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
But, you see, when you live in Texas, you get tarred with the same brush as the rest of the yahoos. It’s quite understandable. Sometimes I think the locals revel in this stuff, as if having bad breath and body odor in some kind of honor. It’s an identity. You know, Like Ted Cruz says, New York values. Yeah. I know. God forbid I should have MOMA or the NYPL at hand. I might have stroke. Or learn something.
The lame defense, perfectly logical, is don’t being making sweeping generalizations. What makes you think we’re all as ignorant as the administrators of the South Lake school district? God forbid. We all know that suits tend to be failed something or others, and in Texas, I have yet to run into one who broke the mold. Damned if I know why. I guess there has to be something for very stupid people with degrees in Education to do. In South Lake, they coordinate curriculum.
So, lookit, you really want to do something constructive? They appear to think they need something to balance anti-Holocaust writing up there. Linda, logically, thought of David Irving or some Holocaust denier. I’ll go her one better.
Y’all get on Amazon and buy Gina Peddy a copy of Mein Kampf. And send it to her. Tell her it would be a great look for students in a world class community to be carrying around something written by Adolf Hitler. It is probably tax deductible. Write it off as teach a Texan to think. Consider it a total loss.