“‘And make sure that — if you have a book on the Holocaust — that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.’”
— Gina Peddy, Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas
A school system in Southlake, Texas, is on the defensive after a secret recording captured an administrator saying that any discussions about the Holocaust should be accompanied by one with an opposing view. It’s a question that alarmed teachers participating in the meeting, according to the audio, obtained by NBC News.
The directive was shocking to teachers, who asked, “How do you oppose the Holocaust?”
But it’s a reality of the current political environment, admitted Gina Peddy, which she referred to as a “political mess,” adding: “And so we just have to do the best that we can.”
Teachers revealed that they were terrified by the state’s recently passed House Bill 3979, legislation designed to “abolish critical race theory in Texas,” in the words of Gov. Greg Abbott, referring to a pedagogical approach typically introduced in postgraduate curricula and law schools. The Texas bill, set to take effect in December, curtails teachers’ freedom to talk about race — specifically, barring the teaching of material that could cause a student to “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”
The bill can be traced to an uproar following the 2019 release of the “1619 Project,” a New York Times publication that offered a view of how race has been intertwined in the American identity since 1619, when the first slave ships arrived in Virginia from Africa. The publication caused a groundswell of conservative opposition, which can of late be seen in the race for governor of Virginia. There, Republican Glenn Youngkin is bolstered by parents who have protested at school board meetings.
Peddy, the curriculum director for the Carroll Independent School District in the Dallas suburb, did give the teachers some support, telling them, “If you think [a] book is OK, then let’s go with it. And whatever happens, we will fight it together.”