ALBANY, N.Y. – A high school English teacher who had students pretend to be Jew-hating Nazis in a writing assignment has been placed on leave.
The teacher at Albany High School caused a storm of criticism after having students practice the art of persuasive writing by penning a letter to a fictitious Nazi government official arguing that “Jews are evil.”
District Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard held a news conference Friday to apologize for the assignment.
The teacher, who has not been named, was not in class on Friday and had been placed on leave by the school district, according to the Times Union newspaper.
The writing assignment was done before a planned class reading of the memoir “Night,” by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
For the assignment, the teacher asked students to research Nazi propaganda, then write a letter trying to convince an official of the Third Reich “that Jews are evil and the source of our problems.”
Wyngaard said she didn’t think the assignment was malicious but “it displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate.”
Many of the students were dismayed by the assignment. Some refused to write the essay.