Third-Graders Instructed to Re-enact Scenes From Holocaust, Principal Says

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A unit librarian was enactment connected permission aft students astatine an simple schoolhouse successful Washington, D.C., were directed to simulate shootings and the digging of wide graves.

“I privation  to admit  the gravity of this mediocre  instructional decision,” the main   of Watkins Elementary School successful  Washington, D.C., said.
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Dec. 20, 2021, 12:26 a.m. ET

A unit librarian astatine an simple schoolhouse successful Washington, D.C., directed 3rd graders to re-enact the Holocaust, including asking them to excavation ditches for wide graves and simulate shootings, according to an email that the school’s main sent to parents precocious Friday.

One pupil was instructed to represent Hitler, the email said.

The unit subordinate starring the enactment astatine Watkins Elementary School, successful the Capitol Hill conception of southeast Washington, besides reportedly made antisemitic statements during the episode, Principal MScott Berkowitz said successful the email.

The unit subordinate has been placed connected administrative permission portion the substance is investigated, Mr. Berkowitz said. The occurrence has besides been referred to the district’s Central Equity Response Team, which commonly responds to hatred and bias incidents, Mr. Berkowitz said.

“I privation to admit the gravity of this mediocre instructional decision, arsenic students should ne'er beryllium tasked to enactment retired oregon represent immoderate atrocity, particularly genocide, warfare oregon murder,” Mr. Berkowitz said. “In nary mode is this acquisition supported by the school’s enactment oregon D.C.P.S. curriculum,” helium added, referring to the District of Columbia Public Schools.

The pupil assigned to the relation of Hitler is Jewish, according to a parent, The Washington Post reported. The child, The Post said, was told to unreal to perpetrate suicide, arsenic Hitler did.

Another parent, The Post reported, said her lad had to unreal to beryllium connected a bid to a attraction campy and past enactment arsenic if helium were dying successful a state chamber. This student, the genitor said, besides had to enactment arsenic if helium were shooting his peers.

The 3rd people had been moving past week connected a probe task that would effect successful a schoolroom presumption earlier wintertime break, Mr. Berkowitz said successful his email. But officials received reports connected Friday that students were being asked to re-enact the Holocaust arsenic portion of room time, helium said.

Mr. Berkowitz, who did not instantly respond to a connection precocious Sunday, did not merchandise the unit librarian’s sanction successful his email. A spokesperson for District of Columbia Public Schools besides did not corroborate the name. But parents, including 1 whose kid was successful the class, identified the pistillate arsenic Kimberlynn Jurkowski, who, according to her LinkedIn profile, has been a room specializer with the schoolhouse territory since 2014.

Ms. Jurkowski did not respond to a connection sent via societal media, and calls to respective numbers listed for her were not answered.

This was not Ms. Jurkowski’s archetypal run-in with a schoolhouse district. She was convicted successful October 2013 of defrauding the Hamilton Township School District, successful New Jersey, of astir $24,000 successful a tutoring scam, according to The Press of Atlantic City, a section newspaper. The district, according to the newspaper, paid for tutoring for Ms. Jurkowski’s 2 children, but she and the tutor continued to measure the territory for respective months aft the tutoring stopped.

The study said she cooperated with the authorities and entered an involution program, which is typically for first-time offenders and usually ends with the removal of a condemnation from a person’s record.

A spokesperson for D.C.P.S. did not respond to a question astir whether the territory was alert of Ms. Jurkowski’s anterior troubles.

Enrique Gutierrez, the spokesman, said successful a connection that officials had started an probe of the Holocaust re-enactment.

“This was not an approved acquisition plan,” helium said, “and we sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident.”

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