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Texas school leader tells teachers to balance Holocaust books with 'opposing' views

A top administrator at a Texas school district advised its teachers in a training to offer students an "opposing" perspective if they're only leaning on one book about the Holocaust in their classroom, according to a report from NBC News. 

Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, was advising teachers after a fourth grade teacher had been reprimanded for keeping an anti-racism book in her classroom. Peddy made the comment about "opposing" views to teachers in a training seminar discussing which books are appropriate.

Six teachers at the school – who all remained anonymous – told NBC News the school district had sent mixed messages. One of the teachers in the report recorded Peddy and shared the recording. 

"Just try to remember the concepts of (House Bill) 3979,” Peddy is heard saying in the recording. That Texas law requires teachers to provide students with multiple perspectives when discussing controversial topics. 

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Peddy then said: "Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives."

"How do you oppose the Holocaust?" a teacher is heard asking on the recording. 

"Believe me," Peddy replied. "That’s come up."

The district superintendent, Lane Ledbetter, posted on the school's Facebook page that Peddy's comments from last Friday were "in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history." 

Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, said in a statement that the school's interpretation of the Texas law is an "overreaction" and a "misinterpretation."

"We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history," Robinson said. "That’s absurd."

Carroll spokeswoman Karen Fitzgerald addressed Peddy's comments by noting that the district is attempting to help teachers comply with the new state law – Texas Senate Bill 3 – with an updated version going into effect Dec. 3. "Our district recognizes that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements," she said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas school boss tells teachers to have 'opposing' books on Holocaust

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