A school administrator in Texas’ Carroll Independent School District in Southlake last week told teachers that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they need to balance that by providing students with access to books with an “opposing” perspective, it was first reported by NBC News.
Carroll ISD is a suburban Fort Worth school district.
NBC News obtained the information via an audio recording that was made of Carroll ISD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Gina Peddy during an Oct. 8 training session concerning which books teachers can have in classrooms' libraries.
It was further reported that the training session came just days after a Carroll ISD fourth grade teacher was reprimanded for having an anti-racism book available in her classroom.
“Just remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Peddy said on 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.”
House Bill 3979, better known as the “critical race theory bill,” was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June.
The law prevents teaching of critical race theory, which examines systemic racism, in Texas public and charter schools. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Steve Toth, R-District 15, passed during the legislative session despite outcry from educators and others.
The law, which principally affects history and social studies teachers, specifies that instructors who give lessons on controversial and highly-debated issues must do so in a way that provides different perspectives and doesn’t show one race or gender as superior to another.
Critical race theory has been defined as a movement that posits that race is primarily a social construct that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.
Critics of the bill have suggested that it will make teachers fearful of broaching difficult topics with their students.
In the recording, Peddy did not provide a list of books that provide “opposing” perspectives on the Holocaust or specify what those opposing views are – Holocaust denial or something else.
“How do you oppose the Holocaust?” one teacher asked Peddy.
“Believe me, that’s come up,” she replied.
This may be a case of overreaction or misinterpretation of the law.
Carroll ISD spokeswoman Karen Fitzgerald told NBC News the district is working with staff to understand and comply with the law.
“Our district recognizes that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements,” she said. “Our purpose is to support our teachers in ensuring they have all of the professional development, resources and materials needed. Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.”
Regardless, Texas state Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, a former teacher who opposed the bill, tweeted that he warned it would have a “chilling effect" on Texas social studies and civics teachers.