A Tampa Bay area mom began questioning
her child's curriculum ...
... not because her daughter was learning about the Holocaust, but because of what she calls questionable teaching methods for a 6th grader.
Palm Harbor, Fl. - Beverly Reynolds says her 11-year-old daughter Shelby enjoyed going to Westlake Christian School for seven years. But that changed after a lesson on the Holocaust.
Reynolds says 6th grade students wore armbands that said Jude and sat on the floor.
"They were told to close their eyes and visualize things that were implications that their family was harmed that they would never see their family again, they were given graphic details on the gas chambers, they were given graphic details on what were done with the bodies," said Reynolds. Reynolds says her daughter was so upset she never wants to go back into that classroom.
"When Shelby gave us the graphic details it just chilled us to the bone so we have been quite upset over this and gone to the administration," said Reynolds.
"This is the only family that seems to have a lingering issue with this," said Rick Pucci, Westlake Christian School Principal. Pucci says the visualization was an opportunity for students to become sensitized to the Holocaust.
"We've had parents who have come in and emailed us and said their children have been energized by this particular unit," said Pucci.
"I don't feel like the teaching style was inappropriate to use a visualization technique at all, so we will continue to have discussion about that," said Cliff Melvin, Senior Pastor of Palm Harbor United Methodist Church which operates Westlake Christian School.
Reynolds says she's done talking about it. Her daughter is now enrolled at another school.
Andrew Rosenkranz, Florida Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, is against re-enactment or role-playing when teaching the Holocaust. Carolyn Bass, Director of the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg says she works closely with Westlake Christian School, but would not give her opinion about the teacher's holocaust visualization exercise.