A school district in Texas is under fire after a recording revealed a school administrator encouraging teachers to introduce “opposing” views to the Holocaust. The school administrator claimed that such a move was necessary in the wake of new legislation for public schools when it comes to teaching certain topics.
NBC News obtained a recording of the comments by Gina Peddy, the executive director of the Carroll Independent School District, which occurred during a school training session in Southlake, Texas. In the recording a teacher can be heard asking, “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” Peddy then replies, “Believe me, that’s come up.”
Ever since the Texas legislature passed House Bill 3979, a bill that seeks to prevent certain subjects from being taught in social studies curriculum, there has been an agonizing debate over what is appropriate in the classroom. HB 3979 was also billed as legislation meant to prevent teaching “critical race theory.” A passage from the bill includes the following: “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.”
When HB 3979 was being debated on the House floor, many Texas Democrats noted that the legislation would make it difficult for teachers to know what was acceptable to teach in the classroom. “Our teachers are going to be the ones who are harmed by this bill because they aren’t going to know what they can or cannot do,” said State Rep. Jarvis Johnson.
After the recording became public, several organizations and individuals condemned the statement from Peddy. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, also made the connection to school censorship bills like HB 3979. “This is why the laws dictating the history we teach are so dangerous,” said Weingarten on Twitter.
In recent months, Southlake, which is a suburb of Dallas, has become synonymous with school controversy. The north Texas suburb is the subject of an NBC News podcast that is examining the effects of anti-critical race theory hysteria on the community.