Rabbi Addresses Rialto School Board Over Controversial Holocaust Assignment
RIALTO (CBSLA.com) — The Rialto Unified School District is considering disciplinary action for the four teachers and school administrators who asked students to write an essay on whether or not the Holocaust happened.
The board members made the announcement Wednesday and apologized again for an incident that’s been making waves in the Inland Empire community.
Rabbi Hillel Cohn was on hand at Wednesday’s board meeting and talked about how the Holocaust tore his family apart.
“The questioning about the truth of the Holocaust is extremely painful to me. I was born in Germany. Here is my identity card,” the rabbi said. “My grandparents, aunts, uncles and first cousins were murdered by the Nazis.”
Eighth-grade students were asked to read and discuss what were said to be credible articles, some of which denied the genocide ever took place, and write an essay on whether the Holocaust happened.
Cohn read some of the students’ papers, recently published in The San Bernardino County Sun.
One student wrote in April: “An estimated 1.1 million children were murdered everyday so yes, in my opinion, after reading, I say the Holocaust is real.”
Others endorsed Holocaust deniers, writing: “This was fake,” and “The Holocaust was a propaganda tool.”
“It made it seem like our students were insensitive, and they’re not. Rialto has great students. Rialto has great parents. The fault of this lies on the school district,” community member Jeannette Riddall said.
When Dylan, a student from Fontana, heard about the assignment, he went to the Museum of Tolerance. He relayed his visit to Rialto school district officials.
“It was really encouraging, and it tells you that the Holocaust is real, and it can’t possible be made up at all,” the student said.
In May, the district apologized and pulled the assignment from the curriculum. The board Wednesday said they’re also considering forming a committee of local Jewish leaders to help consult future Holocaust instruction.