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Albany teacher faces disciplinary action over Nazi assignment

ALBANY -- A veteran high school English teacher faces disciplinary action for giving a writing assignment that asked students to make a persuasive argument blaming Jews for the problems of Nazi Germany, Albany school district officials said Friday.

Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said the action could range from a letter of counsel for the unidentified 10th-grade teacher at Albany High School to dismissal.

The assignment asked students to research Nazi propaganda, then assume their teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. The assignment told students they "must argue that Jews are evil."

"This assignment for some of our students at Albany High School was completely unacceptable. It displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate in our school community," Wyngaard said at a news conference Friday at the United Jewish Federation.

School officials say they don't believe the teacher had malicious intent. The purpose of the assignment was to have students make an argument based on limited information, but it should have been worded differently, officials said.

The teacher's assignment told students they "must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

A parent of one student notified administrators of the assignment. Some students refused to write it.

-- AP

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