A JEWISH woman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says her child was taught “how to torture a Jew” at school.
Juniper Russo wrote about the incident in a Facebook post alleging that the teacher engaged in “blatant Christian proselytising” in a Bible history class that was meant to be “non-sectarian”.
Hamilton County Schools is investigating the incident.
Russo’s daughter’s class was part of an initiative by Bible in the Schools, a nonprofit organisation based in Chattanooga that promotes the study of the Bible in public school classrooms. The classes officially study the Bible as literature and for its historic value in a “non-sectarian” manner, according to the organisation’s website, thus allowing the classes to be conducted in public schools.
“[The teacher] wrote an English transliteration of the Hebrew name of God on the whiteboard. This name is traditionally not spoken out loud, and is traditionally only written in the Torah. She then told her students, ‘If you want to know how to torture a Jew, make them say this out loud,'” Russo wrote, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
“My daughter felt extremely uncomfortable hearing a teacher instruct her peers on ‘how to torture a Jew’ and told me when she came home from school that she didn’t feel safe in the class.”
The incident comes just weeks after the school board in McMinn County, located about 80 km northeast of Chattanooga, removed Maus from its curriculum after parents complained about the appearance of swear words and nudity in the book, which tells the story of the author’s father during the Holocaust and depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as the cats that pursue them.
Michael Dzik, president of the Jewish Federation of Chattanooga said they were looking forward to meeting with Bible in the Schools to discuss their initiative.
“Hopefully it’s an opportunity for them to reflect on this and look at the curriculum and see how teachers are presenting the material, to make sure that – the term that we have been using is – there’s ‘education, not indoctrination,'” Dzik said.