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D.C. School Staffer Sparks Outrage After Having Third Graders Reenact Horrific Holocaust Scenes

D.C. School Staffer Sparks Outrage After Having Third Graders Reenact Horrific Holocaust Scenes

A staff member at Watkins Elementary School in the Washington, D.C. area has been placed on leave after having third graders reenact moments from the Holocaust.

According to The Washington Post,the staff member, who's name has not been disclosed, had the third grade students play out a number of horrific scenarios which took place during the Holocaust.

These included pretending to dig mass graves, mimicking shooting other students, Imagining they were riding a train to a concentration camp and pretending to die in a gas chamber.

Antisemitic comments were also part of the staffer's lesson.

An email sent out by school principal MScott Berkowitz even revealed one student was assigned to play Adolf Hitler and had to pretend to commit suicide as Hitler did.

The student in question was Jewish.

The students tangled up in this horrific moment had been sent to the school library to work on an end of term presentation before the offending staff member corralled them into the reenactment.

Berkowitz apologized to all the parents of the students involved in this shockingly ill-advised project, and condemned the actions of the staff member responsible.

"Earlier today, we received a report of a classroom of students receiving a lesson that included portraying different perspectives of the Holocaust."
"I want to acknowledge the gravity of this poor instructional decision, as students should never be asked to act out or portray any atrocity, especially genocide, war, or murder."

The students were even reportedly told by this staff member to keep the reenactment a secret, but the students told their homeroom teacher upon returning to the classroom.

Making matters worse, this didn't even appear to be a misguided attempt at teaching children about the horrors of the Holocaust.

A parent of one of the students told The Washington Post when a student asked why Hitler and the Nazi's did this, the staff member replied, "because the Jews ruined Christmas."

The Anti Defamation League of Washington D.C. expressed their horror at the incident on Twitter.

Indeed, many expressed their astonishment and disgust, with most demanding the staff member in question be fired immediately.

Included among the justifiably outraged were some who had family members who died in the Holocaust.

The incident came only a few weeks after Swastikas and bigoted messages were painted on the walls of the men's bathroom at Washington D.C's Woodrow Wilson High School.

After this latest incident was reported to The D.C. Public Schools’ Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity Team, the staff member was placed on leave, pending an investigation.

A spokesperson for the team also issued a statement, apologizing to everyone affected by the actions of the staff member.

"This was not an approved lesson plan, and we sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident."
"[The school district] has launched an investigation, and students are being supported by our DCPS Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity Team."

The email sent out by Principal Berkowitz also made it known all the children who partook in the appalling reenactment met with the school's mental health response team after what they went through became known.