WASHINGTON (WDVM) — A District of Columbia Public Schools educator is on leave after having a class of students reenact parts of the Holocaust. While the school system is investigating exactly what happened, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released a statement and weighed in on the best practices for teaching about the Holocaust.
The educator is accused of directing young students to reenact some of the most horrific parts of the Holocaust.
DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said, “We’re very disturbed by an incident that took place with a staff member at Watkins (Elementary School). We move very quickly and decisively as it relates to discipline. The staff member is currently on leave as we investigate the details.”
Questions of the hiring process surrounding the educator have come up during the investigation. The Chancellor also addressed those concerns.
“We do a thorough background check on all of our employees when they’re hired and again, we are doing investigations on the hiring process specifically to the staff member,” he said.
The Holocaust Memorial Museum took to Twitter to release a statement and a link to the teaching resources.
“Teaching Holocaust history requires sensitivity of the complexity of the subject. Creating and exploiting reenactments for students of any age or purpose is irresponsible and shows a lack of respect for the victims and survivors. Teaching about the Holocaust can inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today.”United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in 1993 and has been dedicated to preserving the memory of those who suffered and educating people on events of the Holocaust. With that education aspect, the museum has ten guidelines that promote understanding and respect for the events.
Additionally, the museum has a section on its website dedicated to teachers. That section is divided into fundamentals of teaching about the Holocaust, teaching materials by topic and online teaching resources. Further, the website has a section dedicated to age appropriateness.