SOUTHLAKE, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A Texas school district administrator is under fire for comments she made about the Holocaust. The administrator told teachers in a private meeting that they should offer students books showing “opposing perspectives” or “other” viewpoints on the subject.
The conversation, which was leaked by another school board member, has outraged many within the community and beyond.
On Monday, more than 50 people addressed the Carroll Independent School District at a school board meeting about the conversation.
“I am ashamed and I am disgusted by what’s going on here,” said one concerned parent.
In the recording obtained by NBC, Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Carroll’s ISD, told teachers to remember a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. She said: “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”
“How do you oppose the Holocaust?” one teacher asked.
“Believe me,” Peddy said. “That’s come up.”
At the same board meeting, Jewish community members spoke out about the comment.
“I cannot believe that you have an administrator who is an educated person — probably has a master’s degree, if not a Ph.D. — who could talk about, mention the Holocaust in the way she did and deny it,” one mother said.
A Jewish former student, Jake Berman, says the antisemitic bullying he experienced at school almost drove him to suicide.
“I was subject to rash bullying — almost all of which was antisemitic in nature. I received everything from jokes about my nose to gas chambers — all while I was studying for my bar mitzvah with a Holocaust survivor as my primary tutor.”
On the other hand, many parents came to Peddy’s defense. They condemned her words but stood up for her service to students.
“Our fear as a family of CISD is that we are facing the reality of losing our greatest assets in these truly instrumental teachers because they are scared,” said one parent. “They feel unsupported and they are tired of the ever-changing rules imposed on them.”
The school district posted a statement on Facebook from Superintendent Lane Ledbetter offering an “apology regarding the online article and news story.” He said Peddy’s advice to teachers was “in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history.”
He also said: “Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust,” and, “We also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts.” He said the district will work to clarify expectations for teachers and “apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused.”