3rd graders were made to reenact episodes from the Holocaust

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ASPartOfMe
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20 Dec 2021, 5:25 am

Washington Post

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A Watkins Elementary School staff member told third-graders in library class to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, directing them to dig their classmates’ mass graves and simulate shooting the victims, according to an email from the school’s principal. The instructor was placed on leave Friday.

She allegedly assigned specific roles to students. She cast one student as Adolf Hitler, according to an email from Watkins Elementary School Principal MScott Berkowitz to the third-graders’ parents. He did not name the staff member. That student is Jewish, according to the parent of a student who was asked to participate. At the end of the exercise, the child was told to pretend to commit suicide, as Hitler did.

“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,” Berkowitz said in the email.

A different parent of a student who was a part of the reenactment said her son had to pretend to be on a train to a concentration camp, then act as if he were dying in a gas chamber. He also had to act as if he were shooting his peers, the parent said.

The instructor allegedly made antisemitic comments during the reenactment. The parent said that when the children asked why the Germans did this, the staff member said it was “because the Jews ruined Christmas.”

The instructor asked students after the reenactment not to tell anyone about it, but they told their homeroom teacher, the parent said.

The incident was reported to D.C. Public Schools’ Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity Team. The staff member is now on leave, pending a school investigation.

“This was not an approved lesson plan, and we sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident,” a spokesperson for DCPS said.

The entire class met with the school’s mental health response team after the Friday incident, according to Berkowitz’s email.

Other local schools have reported incidents of bigotry in recent months.

Bolding=mine

I can not tell if this was a sick attempt at humor or the teacher hates Jews so much so that caution was thrown to the wind. Either way, mind-boggling.


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naturalplastic
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20 Dec 2021, 7:01 am

8O :o

Thats not far from me. Southeast DC.

A largely Black area.

Wow. Glad that they did some mental health intervention on the kids afterwards.

The world seems to be getting crazier and crazier by the minute.



DW_a_mom
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20 Dec 2021, 9:47 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Washington Post
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The instructor asked students after the reenactment not to tell anyone about it,.


Nothing good accompanies such a request, does it?

Teaching third graders about the Holocaust is far too young. Keep the innocence a little longer! I had a hard enough time when my 7th graders learned about it, but at least I was able to acknowledge it was age appropriate. And, no, reenactments were not in that lesson plan.


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21 Dec 2021, 12:34 am

What did the teacher do? get half the class to wear swatikas and make them put the other half of the class wearing stars of david to go into a classroom with a sign saying "Gas ovens" on the door and lock it?

How do you re-enact the holocaust??



naturalplastic
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21 Dec 2021, 1:38 am

cyberdad wrote:
What did the teacher do? get half the class to wear swatikas and make them put the other half of the class wearing stars of david to go into a classroom with a sign saying "Gas ovens" on the door and lock it?

How do you re-enact the holocaust??


Clink the "Washington Post" link and read.



naturalplastic
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21 Dec 2021, 1:44 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Washington Post
Quote:
The instructor asked students after the reenactment not to tell anyone about it,.


Nothing good accompanies such a request, does it?

Teaching third graders about the Holocaust is far too young. Keep the innocence a little longer! I had a hard enough time when my 7th graders learned about it, but at least I was able to acknowledge it was age appropriate. And, no, reenactments were not in that lesson plan.


At first glance it looks like what your saying- honest, but insanely overreaching misfeasance by some honest well meaning lunatic.

But (a) the instructor told the kids that "the Jews tried to destroy Christmas" (sounds like the instructor was a neo Nazi- trying to push antisemitism), and (b) told the kids 'not to tell anyone about it' (so it was knowing deliberate group child abuse). Deliberate malfeasance.

The school said "we need to review our hiring records to see if we ever did a background check on that instructor".

Ya think?



cyberdad
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21 Dec 2021, 2:07 am

naturalplastic wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
What did the teacher do? get half the class to wear swatikas and make them put the other half of the class wearing stars of david to go into a classroom with a sign saying "Gas ovens" on the door and lock it?

How do you re-enact the holocaust??


Clink the "Washington Post" link and read.


I can't access the Washington Post artlcle but I read the extract saying they "dug their classmates’ mass graves and simulate shooting the victims"

Sounds slightly inappropriate for little kids but then this is America where kids are given guns as play toys.



ASPartOfMe
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22 Dec 2021, 2:49 pm

DCPS librarian accused of reenacting Holocaust with elementary schoolers has prior criminal record

Quote:
A D.C. school librarian accused of leading elementary students in a reenactment of the Holocaust has a prior criminal record out of New Jersey.

According to records from the New Jersey State Department of Education, Kimberlynn Jurkowski lost her teaching license for three years after she was found guilty of theft and falsifying records in 2013.

Her childrens’ school district was paying for tutoring for her children and Jurkowski was found to have continued to charge the school system over $20,000 after the tutoring ended. She subsequently lost her school librarian job in Atlantic City.

FOX 5 also found court records of a cruelty to animals charge from 2019. Multiple media reports out of South Jersey say one of Jurkowski’s dogs died after being left outside in the cold.

On Monday, D.C. Public Schools refused to comment on whether the district knew about Jurkowski’s criminal past.

Students report their librarian used anti-Semitic slurs, according to a letter to parents from the principal. FOX 5 spoke to a mother of a child in the class who didn’t want to be identified.

"My husband picked up our child after school and there was a lot of sobbing and crying and distress," she said. "And momentarily, we received an email that the children had reenacted the Holocaust in their library class, including the trains, dying in the gas chamber, playing Hitler and mass graves."

She said her child was told to pretend to choke and die in a gas chamber.

In a phone call with FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts on Sunday, Jurkowski confirmed she was being accused of this, but denied the reenactment. She would not say what she talked about with students in the library and whether there was any discussion about the Holocaust. She said she wouldn’t comment further until the investigation is finished

DCPS won’t even say how long Jurkowski has been employed by the district, but Allen says it’s been several years.

Earlier Monday, Watkins Elementary parents had a virtual meeting with school officials. A parent who was part of the meeting said they were told the school followed proper hiring procedures for Jurkowski, but it wasn’t made clear whether the district knew about the charges out of New Jersey.

Lawyers are salvating.


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