Schools in the Rialto School District gave eighth graders an 18-page paper assignment to argue whether or not the Holocaust was an actual event. The argument was that the Holocaust could have been a “propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”
School board members stated that they are supposed to encourage critical thinking and encourage students to present arguments. They want the students to “come to their own conclusion” about the event. But how can one come to his or her own conclusion over an actual historical event – something as horrifyingly real as the Holocaust?
The students were asked to include three sources in their report and one of the sources stated “the gassing of 6 million Jews was a hoax.” Let’s ask those who are still alive and survived the concentration camps how much of a “hoax” it was to see their loved ones die in concentration camps.
The Rialto schools have now taken the assignment off the curriculum after serious backlash. However, the assignment should have never been given. The members of the school board were nothing short of ignorant for allowing the assignment in the first place, considering its members should be educated and sensitive enough to be entrusted with decisions about thousands of children’s education. Unfortunately this is not the first case in which the Holocaust not taught accurately in schools. The main problem with this is that those who suffered and lost so much are forgotten and not given the credit and recognition they deserve.
It was not just the Jews who suffered in the Holocaust, millions of people suffered and were tortured in the camps, and to ignore this important piece of world history is just absurd. It was ironic how district spokeswomen Syeda Jafri and interim Superintendent Mohammad Islam received multiple death threats after the assignment went out – maybe the district officials learned from this: what it was like to be scared and possibly facing death for no reason.
Bottom line: the Holocaust did happen, and those who died should forever be remembered for dying for nothing more than being a certain religion or ethnicity.
Those who survived will never forget what they went through, and neither should we.