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school daze

Albany High School Teacher Suspended for Asking Students to Think Like Nazis

On Friday, the world learned of a particularly ill-advised (at best) thought experiment handed out by an Albany High School teacher: "You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!" Though the essay was apparently intended to "challenge students to formulate a persuasive argument," the district's superintendent, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, was quick to apologize for the assignment's wording — and to place the still unnamed teacher on leave.

At a press conference, Vanden Wyngaard said that the teacher will face some kind of disciplinary action, which could range from a letter of reprimand to firing. "You asked a child to support the notion that the Holocaust was justified, that's my struggle," she said. "It's an illogical leap for a student to make." (Indeed, a 16-year-old who received the assignment told the Times Union that she and her classmates "thought it would make more sense if we were Jews arguing against Nazis.") Vanden Wyngaard also said that the Anti-Defamation League would be conducting sensitivity training with district students and teachers by the end of the year, right after the people from the Common Sense Coalition have paid their own visit.

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