Scrapbookpages Blog

May 2, 2012

Middle school teacher in trouble for Holocaust role playing in the classroom

Filed under: Holocaust — furtherglory @ 10:46 am

It’s all over the news today.  A middle school teacher has been arrested and is facing charges because of an incident in her classroom.  The parents of the boy involved are suing the teacher.

This quote is from this website:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Police in South Carolina say a middle school teacher has been accused of dragging a student under a table during class, telling the boy “this is what the Nazis do to Jews.”

The 12-year-old student told police he got up to sharpen a pencil at Bluffton Middle School on Wednesday when the teacher grabbed him by his collar and said, “come here, Jew.”

The seventh-grade teacher, Patricia Mulholland, claims she was trying to teach the students a lesson about the Holocaust.

Attorney Robert Ferguson says the teacher’s attempt to teach about World War II and the Holocaust has been taken to mean an anti-Semitic rant and it was nothing like that.

Mulholland turned herself in to face charges of assault and battery and public disorderly conduct.

None of the news articles say whether the boy involved was Jewish or if he was only playing the role of a Jew in a lesson on the Holocaust.

The classroom incident was clearly meant to be symbolic of the Holocaust:  An innocent young boy was doing nothing wrong, just going about his business, sharpening a pencil, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, an evil Nazi comes along and grabs him for no reason at all. He is thrown under a table, which represents a gas chamber.

The teacher was trying to get a point across:  the Jews had done nothing wrong in the entire history of the world, but for no reason at all, they were grabbed off the street and thrown into death camps, where they were gassed upon arrival if they were under the age of 15 or over the age of 45.

I got into trouble for criticizing Holocaust role playing in the classroom on this blog post. Students at Monroe High School in Ohio had participated in a pretend “death march” through a hallway, with a teacher accompanying them, holding a baseball bat, and screaming at them.

I disapprove of Holocaust role playing.  I don’t think this is the right way to teach young  students about the Holocaust.  I think Holocaust education should begin with teaching the students about what happened to the Jews in the year 70 AD and continue up to the present time with what is happening to the Palestinians today.  A small part of this history lesson would be about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

You can read the time line of the case here.