What could go wrong?
Impressionable, naive young middle-school students and a class project about Adolph Hitler!
For some reason, this seemed like a great idea for kids at an Illinois middle school.
Parents at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee were shocked to find Hitler-themed homework in their kids’ backpacks.
The assignment was called “If You Give Hitler a Country” and was modeled after the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” The assignment had a “My Little Pony” cartoon dressed to look like Hitler.
The assignment tells students to “create a comic strip for little kids that exemplifies Europe’s appeasement towards Hitler,” using “fun and colorful” pictures.
Kelly Masterson told WGN that she interrogated her son about the assignment.
“I asked him ‘did you ask the teacher if you could use these images?’ and he said ‘yes,’” she said. “Not sure what’s an appropriate manner to use a swastika.”
Kelly posted a picture of the Hitler-themed homework on her Facebook page, prompting other parents to raise questions.
Another parent had a clear grasp of the obvious: “There’s got to be a better way to teach our kids about the horrific things Hitler did.”
“I don’t think she did it on purpose, to be anti-Semitic,” Kelly told Fox News. “I think she was trying to teach that there was propaganda…It did not come through the assignment that way.”
After the assignment was discovered, the district wrote a letter to parents that the objective of the lesson is in alignment with state standards and district curriculum on World War II, but apologized for causing concern for members of the community.
“However, the ‘fun’ and ‘cartoonish’ elements of the activity students were asked to complete did not fully represent the intent of the teachers” or a board policy on teaching of controversial issues, the letter read. “The intent of the student activity was to help students understand the complex issues leading up to World War II, not to minimize the atrocities of Nazi Germany.”
The assignment is part of an honors course available on Google Communities. However, the bizarre “Little Pony” Hitler doesn’t seem to appear on any of the assignments, and that might be what set off the controversy.
School board president Carla Little apologized in a statement and said the assignment was aimed at teaching students about the appeasement negotiations between the Nazis and rivaling countries and the events leading up to World War II. Kelly said that she’s not satisfied with the schools explanation and that she wants to know “that they’re not going to go ahead and give more assignments and make light of it.”
Amazingly, this isn’t the first time Nazi imagery and symbolism made its way into the classroom. Back in September, a Vermont substitute teacher was fired after teaching a group of 3rd graders the Nazi salute.
What do you think? Was this just a normal assignment with very bad graphics? Would you have you kid do the assignment? (I would!) Sound off below and let us know!