A Homework Assignment Actually Asked Students To Defend The Holocaust

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"You will be writing an internal memo within the Nazi party either for or against the Final Solution," the essay prompt read at a school in Syracuse.

Somehow, a Syracuse, New York, school thought it was appropriate to give their students an assignment asking them to "defend" the Holocaust, Syracuse.com reports

Specifically, the essay asked students to write a memorandum, either in support of or opposition to Hitler's "Final Solution" to murder the Jews. 

The prompt, which can be viewed on Syracuse.com, reads,

"Open with a short, clear purpose sentence. (Why are you writing this memorandum?) (You will be writing an internal memo within the Nazi party either for or against the Final Solution, using the arguments of the top level officials of the Nazi party.)

For the recommendation, conclusion, or most important information (the main point) next. Here you will analyze the issue, provide 'your' Nazi point of view for or against the Final Solution and why, and thoroughly explain your support or opposition to the solution."

Students Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April were given the assignment in the context of an advanced program at Oswego County Center for Instruction Technology & Innovation. They are the students who first brought the it to public attention.

Although a teacher offered an alternative assignment for the students to complete, they wanted an apology along with a total curriculum withdrawal of the essay prompt. 

New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia has issued a statement on the incident. 

"Since first learning of the assignment, I've done my homework to determine the facts in this situation," Elia said in the statement. "I spoke with district officials about this serious matter. We agree the assignment should not have been given. The teacher apologized and the assignment will not be used in the future."

Twitter erupted with opinions on the offensive assignment and the students who stood up for what's right. 

No word yet on whether the teacher apologized, but we think one is most certainly in order.

Regarding the controversial "educational" assignments — which have been bubbling up on the news front frequently — we've asked the same question time and time again. We'll ask it once more: How does this keep happening

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters

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