Teacher, principal on paid leave
A teacher and principal at Maugham Primary School in Tenafly have been placed on paid leave pending a district investigation into a controversial assignment that required an 11-year-old student to write an essay on the point of view Adolf Hitler.
In a letter sent to parents Thursday evening, Tenafly superintendent Shauna DeMarco said the assignment violated the district’s curriculum and that “an attempt to individualize the project led the student to receive erroneous instructions from the teacher’s share “.
DeMarco further states that the school erred in publicly suspending the essay in the school, which flagged the assignment before a parent posted a photo of the essay online, sparking outrage towards school, but also the child who wrote the essay and his family.
“It had a devastating impact on the student involved and his family, who were thrown into turmoil through no fault of their own,” DeMarco wrote, adding, “It has also been incredibly painful for members of our community. Jewish woman facing more and more cases of anti-Semitism across the country.
DeMarco admitted that the district had failed in its initial response to the flashback.
Administrators are still investigating the incident and the teacher and principal will remain on administrative leave until the Tenafly school board is able to implement an action plan based on the district’s findings.
In addition, the district aims to confer with local Jewish leaders to develop a Holocaust education program for Tenafly schools, according to a source with knowledge of the plan.
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The project at the heart of the controversy asked a fifth-grade class to write biographies from the perspective of historical figures who “personify good or bad,” according to a statement released by the district school board earlier this year. week.
The students were invited to discuss how their topic could have streamlined their actions, the board said.
The short Hitler essay was displayed in the project’s school among others for weeks, but after an image of the essay was shared online, parents and other members of the community voiced their voices. their indignation.
However, some groups, such as the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, called for calm, saying the child and his family had no anti-Semitic intent, and noted that they had suffered from a wave of vitriol. “misdirected”, which spread on social media.
“My greatest achievement has been to unite a large mass of Germans and Austrians behind me,” says the essay in its introduction, as shown in a widely circulated photograph.
After noting that Hitler rose to the title of German Fuhrer in 1934, the student wrote one of the essay’s most controversial passages, saying, “I was pretty awesome, wasn’t I?” ?
“My belief [sic] in anti-Semitism prompted me to kill over 6 million Jews, “the newspaper concludes.
Nicholas Katzban is a last minute reporter for NorthJersey.com. To receive the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
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