An Illinois middle school is unjustly under fire for a teacher's decision to use swastikas in a language arts class.
Speaking to Fox 43, Woodland Middle School parent Kelly Masterton complained about the horror of her eighth-grade son being able to draw swastikas on an assignment. The assignment instructed students to draw a cartoon for younger students that would explain the basic concern of appeasement as it pertained to Hitler's rise to power.
Personally, I would say that the teacher's approach was a little odd but well-motivated; encouraging students to think more broadly about how deeply unpleasant ideas can win casual favor or acceptance.
Masterton disagrees and prefers censorship because she is "not sure," she said, "what's an appropriate manner to use a swastika."
Yet, instead of addressing her concerns directly with the teacher, Masterton decided to take to Facebook to shake Woodland's middle-class masses from their dangerous slumber. Her tedious post, recorded by Fox 43 is below.
I say tedious because Masterton is allowing her need for faux scandal to supersede formative study. In her interview with Fox 43, Masterton seems to recognize that the teacher assigned the cartoon work in order to teach students about the role of propaganda in Nazi Germany. But, she ruled, "I'm not positive."
In a similar vein, Masterton's son says the situation "was surprising, not comfortable at all — it's unnerving to me."
Give me a break.
For a start, if this is an unnerving experience for a 13-year-old, that 13-year-old has a lot of growing up to do.
More broadly, however, a teacher is now likely to be punished for trying to get her students to think creatively about a deadly serious issue. Sadly, now that the censorship crowd have gained the upper hand, the teacher's future interest in robust teaching on Nazi Germany is likely to be chilled. That's a tragedy, and it speaks to a growing problem in how our society deals with issues of history and horror: Rather than accept individual choices pursuant to greater understanding, we worship "not offending" anyone.
The cost is knowledge.
Masterton should take a leaf out of Larry David's book and recognize that no one gets to be the arbiter of history.