Parents were horrified when it was revealed that a teacher at Albany High School in New York was making students in her sophomore English classes argue that “Jews are evil” as part of an exercise in persuasive writing.
TheBlaze’s Tiffany Gabbay explained the assignment and its wider implications:
“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” read the description on the assignment, which the school superintendent said reflects the kind of sophisticated writing expected of students under the new Common Core standards and was meant to hone students’ persuasive argument abilities.
According to the Times Union, which broke the story, the teacher was not in class Friday and has been placed on leave.
District Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard held a news conference apologizing for the assignment, but said it was too early to determine what punishment the teacher will receive.
It could apparently range from a letter of reprimand to termination.
“You asked a child to support the notion that the Holocaust was justified, that’s my struggle,” she said. “It’s an illogical leap for a student to make.”
Albany Public Schools Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard
The school district has not named the teacher, who has been described as a veteran who likes to “challenge” students. Monday’s assignment was brought to administrators’ attention by a horrified parent, before making national news. Some of the children reportedly refused to write the essay, but others were concerned it would irreparably affect their grade.
“I was putting it off because I didn’t want to think about it and I didn’t want to say anything bad about Jewish people,” 16-year-old Emily Karandy remarked. “We thought it would make more sense if we were Jews arguing against Nazis.”
She said she felt “horrible” when she turned it in.
New York City Councilman David Greenfield was one of many to call for the unnamed teacher’s resignation, concluding: “The teacher responsible for coming up with and assigning students with this task must be held accountable for attempting to indoctrinate children with anti-Semitic beliefs… Quite obviously, this teacher lacks the judgment and common sense necessary to have a position of such great responsibility and is clearly not fit to return to the classroom.”
The National Rifle Association on Thursday held a massive rally in Albany, N.Y. to protest the Empire State’s restrictive gun laws signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January. The state’s massive gun control package gave New York the strictest gun laws in the United States.
NRA President David Keene fired up thousands of supporters outside the state Capitol, saying “we’ve lose battles before, we’ll not lose this war.”
“We’ll help you defeat the politicians depriving you of your rights,” Keene said. “We’ll do whatever is necessary. We will not allow those freedoms to be taken from us.”
NRA membership has seen a steady increase as lawmakers continue to debate future gun control legislation. Keene said the NRA now has close to 5 million members.
Keene also reminded New Yorkers that big and small businesses could be impacted by new gun laws, using a green Remington Arms union T-shirt to make his point, The Business Review’s Adam Sichko reports.
Sichko, who was at the event, has some more details:
Dozens of buses brought protestors from all corners of the state. Organizers kept referring to a crowd of 10,000, though that appeared to be an overestimate.
Many in the crowd raised American flags or yellow “Don’t Treat on Me” flags. A number of signs compared Cuomo to Hitler and invoked communism. Others had messages such as: “If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words” or “I’m a mom and grandmother here to protect and defend their future.”
One sign was especially pertinent: “Founded in 1816: Remington stays. Cuomo goes!”
Police estimated the crowd size at 5,000 at around 1 p.m. Thursday, Times Union reports.
The crowd could be heard chanting, “We will not comply!” at one point and later “Cuomo’s gotta go!”
Watch some raw video taken at the rally:
In addition to outlawing semi-automatic rifles, or so-called “assault weapons,” New York’s new gun laws ban a broader array of military-style weapons and also restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds, down from the current 10. The law also creates a more comprehensive database of people barred from owning guns, and makes New York the first state to require background checks to buy bullets.
But that just is more of a reason for the NRA to keep fighting for America’s gun rights, Keene explained.
“Our strength comes from the fact that that broader community of Second Amendment believers in this country is not simply made of Republicans or conservative or Democrats or liberals or factory owners. It’s made up of all Americans: farmers, union workers and all the rest, police officers and veterans,” he told supporters.
Since New York State enacted its restrictive new gun laws, many manufacturers have sent that state (and others) a message: If local governments are going to severely restrict the ability of citizens to own guns, then these companies will not be selling to law enforcement in those areas.
Among the gun manufacturers sending that message:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Olympic Arms is a staunch believer in and defender of the Constitution of the United States, and with special attention paid to the Bill of Rights that succinctly enumerates the security of our Divinely given Rights. One of those Rights is that to Keep and Bear Arms.
Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States, ignoring such SCOTUS rulings as District of Columbia v. Heller – 554, U.S. 570 of 2008, McDonald v. Chicago – 561 U.S. 3025 of 2010, and specifically the case of United States v. Miller – 307 U.S. 174 of 1939.
Due (to) the passing of this legislation, Olympic Arms would like to announce that the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity – will no longer be served as customers.
EFI, LLC has a long-standing policy of not selling to law enforcement in states that restrict private gun ownership. TheBlaze interviewed EFI’s President Melinda Meador on the subject. Her statement was quite succinct:
“We refuse to recognize law enforcement exemptions on gun control. If a product that we manufacture is not legal for a private citizen to own in a jurisdiction, we will not sell that product to a law-enforcement agency in that jurisdiction.”
The company’s policy supports a broad market strategy for sales. Meador reminded us that “law enforcement sales don’t make up a significant portion of the market.”
The York Arms website is one that did not mince words on the company’s policy as it relates to gun sales for New York.
Based on the recent legislation in New York, we are prohibited from selling rifles and receivers to residents of New York. We have chosen to extend that prohibition to all governmental agencies associated with or located within New York. As a result we have halted sales of rifles, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, and silencers to New York governmental agencies.
For “civilian” customers residing in New York:
At your choice, we will:
* complete your order and ship to a dealer of your choice outside of NY
* refund your payment in full
* hold your items here for up to 6 months, at no charge – if you are in the process of leaving NY and taking residence in another state.
For LE/Govt customers in New York:
Your orders have been cancelled.
Effective today, in an effort to see that no legal mistakes are made by LaRue Tactical and/or its employees, we will apply all current State and Local Laws (as applied to civilians) to state and local law enforcement / government agencies. In other words, LaRue Tactical will limit all sales to what law-abiding citizens residing in their districts can purchase or possess.
Templar Custom of North Carolina is a North Carolina-based maker of precision rifles. CEO Bob Reynolds spoke with TheBlaze on Friday and reinforced the company’s position as posted on Facebook.
We will not sell arms to agents of the state of New York that hold themselves to be “more equal” than their citizens.
As long as the legislators of New York think they have the power to limit the rights of their citizens, in defiance of the Constitution, we at Templar will not sell them firearms to enforce their edicts.
Recently, companies such as LaRue Tactical and Olympic Arms have announced that they will no longer sell prohibited items to government agencies and personnel in states that deny the right to own those items to civilians. It has been and will continue to be Cheaper Than Dirt’s policy to not to sell prohibited items to government agencies and/or agents in states, counties, cities, and municipalities that have enacted restrictive gun control laws against their citizens. We support and encourage other companies that share in this policy.
In addition to these very public statements, gun-owner groups have been promoting these statements while also asking members and fans to contact three other manufacturers with significant sales to law enforcement in New York. One such group, Guns Save Lives, is actively asking people to write letters / emails to Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Glock and pressure them to stop selling to police in New York. Those three companies happen to be the trio of manufacturers recommended by the NYPD for use by their officers.
Calls and email inquires about any changes to their law enforcement sales policies have not been returned by Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson. If there is any additional information available, we will update this story.