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News Archive    Printer Version April 22, 2007   
 

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How to teach hate to impressionable minds

Holocaust lesson gets out of hand

Source:  The Sydney Morning Herald

Students in Texas said a three-week lesson that assigned students the roles of Germans and Jews during the Holocaust got out of hand when some students took the role-playing too far and the "Germans" spat and hit the "Jews".

The exercise in the Ninth Grade Academy school's Advanced Placement Geography course Waxahachie, 50 kilometres south of Dallas, was meant to bring home the reality of intolerance during the Holocaust, school officials said.

Students and teachers said the students tagged as Jews were forced to stand against the wall as those portraying Germans passed by in the hallway.

The Jewish students were also the last to eat lunch and had to pick up everyone's garbage, the station reported.

Some students said the exercise got out of hand when the "German" students spat on or hit the Jewish students.

"They would spit on them. They would push them down the stairs. They would be really rude," student Tiffany Zimmerman said. "I think it was too rough and over the edge."

The point of the class was "learning about the problems of intolerance and the problems of discrimination and helping kids understand what some people went through to change the world," Principal John Aune told a Dallas-Fort Worth television station.

Aune said this was the fifth year the school has run the Holocaust exercise.

He said he had not received any reports of students spitting, pushing or tripping one another.

"I think that some of the kids were kind of harsh, but it taught us a little bit about how it was back then," student Trevor Smith said.



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