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Wasatch County School District condemns antisemitism after class assignment

Daniels Canyon Elementary is part of the Wasatch County School District.
Grace Doerfler / KPCW
Daniels Canyon Elementary is part of the Wasatch County School District.

The Wasatch County School District sent a message to Daniels Canyon Elementary parents Thursday afternoon, April 4, condemning antisemitism.

The district’s statement was sent after an internal investigation into a biography assignment at the elementary school, when students were asked to research and write about a famous or historic person they wanted to learn more about. The assignment also included a visual component.

One student chose to profile Adolph Hitler. According to the district, the student stated clearly that they “in no way sympathized with nor endorsed Hitler's beliefs or celebrated his acts.” Their assignment “concluded that Hitler was evil, and the horrors of the Holocaust are something we should not forget.”

However, the student’s art portion of the assignment, displayed without the written report, “included use of the flag of Nazi Germany and a quote from Hitler expressing his dehumanizing thoughts about Jewish people.”

The district confirmed the art was posted in the hallway with the other students’ projects “until it was determined that, without the additional context of the written piece clearly concluding Hitler was evil, the imagery could possibly be misconstrued as an endorsement of his views.”

The Wasatch County School District said it is reinforcing its policies with teachers. In the email to parents, it said the following:

“We hope that this incident will be viewed, as it should be, as a reminder to all of our staff regarding the important role they play in ensuring our students understand the depravity of the Holocaust, as well as the evil of antisemitism and other religiously based harassment and discrimination, all of which was understood and expressed by the student. We are appreciative of the student and their family in their efforts to gain a greater understanding of this extremely unfortunate period of history, which continues to be relevant today.”

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.