“Dear MCPS Community:
Today, on United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I ask you to join me in solemn reflection and in our commitment to strengthening educational programs that teach our students about the genocide of the six million Jewish people during the Holocaust.
Amid a tide of rising antisemitism in our country and our local community, we remind ourselves that education is a large part of the answer. In MCPS, our curriculum teaches students about the seeds of antisemitism, the history of state-sponsored violence and ethnic cleansing, and the varied responses from international governments, including the United States. In addition, across English Language Arts classes, students read age-appropriate texts relating to the Holocaust, including:
- Grade 8: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Grade 10: Night by Elie Wiesel
- Grade 12 (supplemental text): Out of the Whirlwind: A Reader of Holocaust Literature
We also offer supplemental opportunities for students and staff to gain a deeper appreciation of the horrors that transpired, through opportunities such as this past Tuesday’s webinar where over 500 students, families and community members learned about the Holocaust from one of its survivors, Dr. Manny Mandel.
Recent antisemitic incidents in the country and in our community remind us that we must respond swiftly, firmly and decisively when encountering antisemitism and hatred and redouble our efforts to eliminate them. Building understanding among all parts of our community is vital. When we know better, we do better. We are fortunate to have many partners in this work, including the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Anti-Defamation League and, most importantly, our MCPS families, whom I call on to continue to take advantage of resources (such as those that can be found here) to have open and honest conversations about difficult histories today—and every day.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
Superintendent of Schools”