Audio of the exchange, previously reported by NBC News, was secretly recorded by a staff member and obtained by Granthshala. Granthshala has reached out to Pedy for comment, but has not received a response.
“Just try to remember the concepts of (Texas House Bill) 3979,” Pedy says, referring to the new law, known as HB 3979. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, you have a protest, it has other perspectives.”
“How do you resist the Holocaust?” A teacher can be heard asking.
“Trust me,” Pedy said in a lengthy recording obtained by NBC. “It has arrived.”
According to a source present there, after the training session was over, a small group of employees exchanged in a hallway.
A NBC News report on the remarks caused an uproar on social media, and district superintendent Len Ledbetter issued an apology to the community:
“I offer my sincere apologies regarding the online article and news that continued today. During a conversation with teachers during last week’s meeting, there was no way to tell from the comments that were made about a terrible event in Holocaust history. Additionally, we believe that there are no two sides to the Holocaust,” the statement read.
“As we continue to work through the implementation of HB 3979, we also understand that this bill does not require a conflicting view on historical facts. As a district, we are clearly articulating our expectations for teachers. Will work to add and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion. This is the reason,” it said.
State law was the catalyst for discussion
At the heart of the phenomenon is confusion over legislation that limits conversations about caste and history in schools.
HB 3979 in Texas, which was signed by Governor Greg Abbott and took effect on September 1, states that a teacher is entitled to “a particular current event or a widely debated and currently controversial subject of public policy or social affairs.” issue” cannot be forced to discuss.
If a teacher engages in such a discussion, the teacher must “explore such issues from diverse and conflicting perspectives without respect for any one point of view.”
The source told Granthshala that Carroll ISD previously issued a rubric for teachers on how to check books in their classroom libraries, but many teachers found it confusing. The source said many teachers were also angry at a fourth-grade teacher reprimanded by the district’s school board for having “this book is anti-racist” by Tiffany Jewel in the classroom.
The reprimands that followed parents’ complaints made national news and contributed to a sense of deep despair among some teachers, especially since Texas’s new law addresses curriculum, not classroom libraries.
According to the source in the room, the teachers were vocal about their concerns at the meeting last week.
“The teachers were very angry,” the source said. “They stood up and screamed and fought back in a way that was frightening but also empowering.”
The source said the teachers raised several questions at the meeting about the new guidelines and after receiving mixed messages from the district whether to keep their classroom libraries open during the waiting process. According to the source, Pedi had gone to seek clarification from other administrators. Pedi came back and, after the training session was over, created a Holocaust example in the hallway as the teachers were leaving.
According to audio played for Granthshala, Pedy promised to stand by the teachers as they began the vetting process.
“I know you think you’re being put at risk, I know it. Just leave them open,” she said, referring to class libraries. “View the entire book, but leave your libraries open while you do so. I know you have your children’s best interests in mind and we’re going to stand behind you.”
Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison said he was outraged by comments made in the audio recording that contained anti-Holocaust views.
“I was furious,” he said in a phone interview with Granthshala. “But, I wasn’t too surprised.”
Robison noted that while the law does not specifically pertain to books in teachers’ classrooms or specifically require teachers to give equal importance to perspectives that deny the Holocaust, he noted that the law does not include “that sort of thing.” There’s enough ambiguity to encourage a response”.
Robison said the Texas State Teachers Association has long opposed the bill because it is open to misinterpretation and can lead to confusion for teachers. Robison said teachers across the state are “angry” and fear the consequences of the books being included in their classes.
“These teachers are not required to pull these books from their shelves, but it certainly encourages parents who don’t like those books—who feel uncomfortable with those books—to their school boards. And to put pressure on their school administration. … take off the books.”
Since the law took effect six weeks ago, Robison said Southlake’s incident is an example of the confusion and frustration he expects to continue the school year, not to mention the expected political battle.
“School board presidents run for election. And this is an issue that can figure very prominently in school board elections, especially from conservative communities,” he said.
This story has been updated to reflect that the audio recording was first obtained by NBC News.
Credit : www.cnn.com