A top school district official in Southlake, Texas, advised teachers if they keep a book about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they should also provide one with an “opposing” view, an apparent caricature of the state’s recently-passed bill aimed at countering critical race theory in public school curricula.
Carroll Independent School District executive director of curriculum and instruction Gina Peddy floated inclusion of books denying the Holocaust as she spoke to teachers last Friday during a training session focused on which books may be offered to students in classroom libraries, according to an NBC report.
Four days prior to the training session, in response to a parent’s complaint, the Carroll school board reportedly reprimanded a fourth-grade teacher who kept what NBC News referred to as “an anti-racism book” in her classroom.
Left-wing activists promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT), and their allies in the media, have created a narrative that parents opposing the teaching of CRT, a Marxist philosophy that teaches whites are oppressors and blacks are their victims, are opposed to “anti-racist” concepts. Antiracism is a concept popularized by author Ibram X. Kendi, née Henry Rogers, who has demanded a constitutional amendment giving an unelected federal bureaucracy police power over “racist ideas,” or thought crimes, among public officials and even private businesses.
Despite widespread denials of critical race theory influencing K-12 educators, the National Educators Association (NEA) passed a resolution this summer affirming that CRT should inform curricula in public schools.
Remember that CRT is only in law schools. Couldn’t exist anywhere else. Remember when they told you that? https://t.co/DMUyI52Sgc
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) September 9, 2021
A Carroll staff member secretly recorded the training session with Peddy, who responded to teachers expressing “fears that they would be required to get rid of books about race,” and shared the audio with NBC News.
In her counsel to teachers, Peddy referred to Texas law HB 3979, which states “teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs shall, to the best of their ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”
“Just try to remember the concepts of [HB] 3979,” Peddy is heard saying in the recording. “And make sure that, if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”
“How do you oppose the Holocaust? What?” a teacher is heard asking in response to Peddy’s statement.
“Believe me,” Peddy responds. “That’s come up.”
“So, Number the Stars?” another teacher is heard asking. According to NBC News, it is unclear in the recording whether Peddy responded to that particular question.
Dr. JJ Villarreal recommends and Trustees approve Gina Peddy as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. pic.twitter.com/2I4meC39Yb
— Carroll ISD (@Carrollisd) June 10, 2014
Author and activist James Lindsay accused Peddy of spreading CRT in the Carroll ISD, based on a draft “Cultural Competence Action Plan” on the school system’s website, tasking Peddy with euphemistically titled “diversity and inclusion training” and “cultural competence.”
— James Lindsay, anti-CRT infrastructure (@ConceptualJames) October 14, 2021
If Peddy is in fact in support of CRT, the Holocaust denial controversy could be an example of “malicious compliance,” also known as “malicious obedience” — a concept where an employee or subordinate follows rules or directions more literally than intended to highlight a perceived flaw in the instruction. Indeed, the leak of Peddy’s talk with teachers has caused a PR fiasco for the school district, causing her superiors to issue apologies and clarifications on how they interpret the new law.
“Our purpose is to support our teachers in ensuring they have all of the professional development, resources, and materials needed,” Carroll ISD spokeswoman Karen Fitzgerald told NBC News. “Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, superintendent Lane Ledbetter wrote:
As the Superintendent of Schools, I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and news story released today. During the conversations with teachers during last week’s meeting, the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust. As we continue to work through implementation of HB3979, we also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts. As a district we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused.
Dear Dragon Families:As the Superintendent of Schools, I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and…
Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, a union representing educators, told NBC News the new Texas law does not deal with classroom libraries.
He added the book guidelines at Carroll are an “overreaction” and a “misinterpretation” of the law.
“We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history,” Robison said. “That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it.”
Texas State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R), the author of SB 3, a bill related to the teaching of social studies and civics training, denied that the law requires teachers to provide opposing views on matters of “good and evil,” or to remove books that offer only one perspective on the Holocaust.
“That’s not what the bill says,” Hughes told NBC News. “I’m glad we can have this discussion to help elucidate what the bill says, because that’s not what the bill says.”