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A middle-school in Southern California's Rialto Unified School District is in hot water after assigning eighth graders an essay on whether they believe the Holocaust really happened or not.
The argumentative essay assignment asked students to write on whether the Holocaust was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth" or was real, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The essay assignment was put together by several teachers and the educational services division in the district. The interim Rialto Unified superintendent, Mohammad Z. Islam, did not know about the assignment until complaints came in. District spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said Islam was "deeply disturbed" after learning of the assignment.
She also noted that "This is a bad mark on our record and we will fix it and move forward."
Rialto Police Capt. Randy De Anda said complaints about the essay came in from a multitude of sources, some of which even included death threats, according to The Associated Press. Some were specifically aimed at Supt. Islam.
The Anti-Defamation League also had issues with the essay, but wrote on their blog that there is no evidence the Holocaust assignment was "part of a larger, insidious agenda" and the school was cooperative in fixing the issue.
The ADL notes that the essay appeared to have been created in order to cover critical thinking skills related to Common Core.