New York teacher faces discipline after assigning Nazi essay


A member of the Minneapolis based National Socialist Movement waves a Nazi flag in Madison, Wisconsin during a rally at in August, 2006.

A New York English teacher is facing disciplinary action after assigning students a propaganda essay to argue Jews were responsible for Nazi Germany.

The Albany High School teacher, who has not been named, asked student to assume they had to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty.

"You need to pretend that I am a member of the government in Nazi Germany, and you are being challenged to consider that you are loyal to the Nazis by writing an essay convincing me that Jews are evil and the source of our problems," the assignment instructions said.

"Please remember — your life [here in Nazi Germany in the 1930s] may depend on it," it continued. "You do not have a choice in your position... use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich."

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A third of the students in the three English classes refused to do the assignment, which the teacher said was meant to flex students' "persuasive writing" skills.

Superintendent of the City School District of Albany Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard called the assignment "completely unacceptable," although she said she believed the teacher did not have any ill intent when assigning the essay.

"It displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate in our school community," Wyngaard said, "I am deeply apologetic to all of our students, all of our families and the entire community."

Discipline for the teacher could range anywhere from a letter of counsel, to a letter of reprimand, to termination.