A DC public school staff member forces the Holocaust on 3rd-graders

Watkins Elementary School is part of what's called the Capitol Hill Cluster.  Thirty-two percent of its students are "economically disadvantaged," and at least one of its staff members is allegedly a sadistic, antisemitic monster.  Only someone like that would force third-graders (an average of eight years old) to "re-enact" the Holocaust and would also tell the students the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves because they "ruined" Christmas.

The story is straightforward and appalling:

An instructor at a DC school has been placed on leave after she allegedly told third-graders to re-enact scenes from the Holocaust — including digging mass graves and having a Jewish student cast as Adolf Hitler.

The principal of Watkins Elementary School told parents in an email that the staff member told the students "to portray participants from the Holocaust like Adolf Hitler, digging ditches to serve as mass graves, and simulated shootings," Fox 5 reported.

"It was also alleged that the staff member leading the lesson made anti-Semitic statements," added Scott Berkowitz, who did not name the clueless educator.

The principal said the students had been taking a library class to do a self-directed project before winter break — but the library instructor had them take part in the hideous re-enactment instead.

Parents also reported what their traumatized children told them about the event.  One little girl was told to pretend to choke and die in a gas chamber.  Another boy was told to pretend he was on one of the cattle cars bringing people to the camp, to mime shooting at his peers, and then to pretend to die in the gas chamber.  A Jewish student was told to play the part of Hitler.  His mother said of him that he "is not doing well at all."

The students reported one other fact that made it appear that this exercise was not intended to increase the students' empathy for those murdered during the Holocaust but was, instead, a sadistic little bit of playacting involving children as the unwitting and unwilling participants in this bit of theater.  When the students asked the woman responsible for this macabre exercise to explain why these horrible things happened to the Jews, she replied that it was "because the Jews ruined Christmas."

The school librarian, however, had a different take on the matter:

The school librarian told Fox 5 that she believed "somebody's misquoting what happened in the library that day."

She insisted that there was no Holocaust re-enactment or hate speech by the staffer, but would not answer when asked whether there was any discussion about the Holocaust.


Image: Crying child.  Piqsels.

I must admit that I can go either way on the truth of this one.  In favor of the librarian's take on the matter (that it couldn't be what really happened), young children are utterly unreliable reporters of events.  Part of the reason the horrific witch hunt against pre-school teachers occurred in the 1980s was that youngsters can so easily be brought to believe as true things that never happened but were, instead, only suggested to them, including suggestions from other students.  By third grade, children are becoming more reliable narrators, but they're still dangerous to believe completely.

I also find weird the antisemitic statement that the "Jews ruined Christmas."  Even for an antisemite, that's a statement that makes no sense.  It could come from a child's fertile imagination — or it could be a child misunderstanding the antisemitic statement that "Jews murdered Christ."

However, a lot of things operate in favor of believing the story.  The children went home and told their parents the same story, and many were genuinely traumatized.  Even if the children garbled the point about Jews ruining Christmas, it seems likely that someone tied the two concepts (Jews and Christ) together in a negative way.  The school is in a heavily leftist community, and leftists, from Hitler on down, hate Jews.

The school student body is over 60% Black, which suggests that a lot of faculty members are Black, too, which leads to a very sad point about Blacks and Jews: Blacks don't like Jews.  Second to Muslims, they are the most antisemitic segment of the American population, which is another tragedy of the Black community.

The fact is that, since biblical times, people who have gotten along well with Jews have thrived.  I'm making a world of assumptions here, but it seems to me that a majority-Black school in a hard-left community won't be friendly to Jews.

My last point in favor of believing, rather than disbelieving the narrative, is that it happened in a public school, and if the COVID hysteria has taught us one thing, it's that public schools are broken, both academically and morally.  With luck, this unsavory event will be yet another nail in the coffin that is American public primary education.

UPDATEKimberlynn Jurkowski is the name of the librarian who allegedly traumatized third-graders by making them reenact the Holocaust and then made antisemitic remarks.  As I suspected, she is Black.  She's also a convicted felon, having defrauded a school district of $24,000 for tutoring work she didn't perform, and was cited for animal cruelty when she let one of her dogs freeze to death outdoors (the last in a list of allegations of dog abuse).  Clearly, despite its shiny website, the Watkins Elementary School is having a hard time vetting the people to whom parents entrust their children.

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