The Rialto school district in California is under fire over a stunning eighth-grade assignment that asked students to write an argumentative essay about the Holocaust and “whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”
The thoroughly debunked idea that the Holocaust was nothing more than a “hoax” created by the Jews has long been alleged by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
The San Bernardino Sun first reported on the 18-page assignment that gives students three sources to use to write their essays. One of the sources reportedly alleges the gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and there is no evidence Jews actually died in gas chambers.
The source, traced to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au, states: “With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded. In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”
The other two sources were from About.com and History.com, KTLA-TV reports.
In a statement issued Monday, the school district said Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam would meet with administrators to make sure references to the Holocaust “not occurring” are taken out of current assignments and not included in future assignments.
The Los Angeles-area chapter of the Anti-Defamation League sent an email to the school district blasting the assignment.
“It is ADL’s general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust Denial,” the email reportedly states.
In a separate blog post, the ADL said there’s no evidence that the assignment was given as part of a “larger, insidious, agenda.” However, the post continued, “the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”
A spokesman for the Rialto school district told KTLA-TV in a statement that the district’s “CORE team” would meet to revise the assignment.
“The Common Core state standards, which have been adopted by most states and the District of Columbia, emphasize critical thinking in students, which is what the assignment is intended to teach, according to school board member Joe Martinez,” The San Bernardino Sun adds.