USA: High School suspends history teacher for showing â€˜remarkable parallelsâ€™ between rise of Trump and Hitler
â€œI said (to school officials), â€˜Iâ€™m not pulling these facts out of my hat. Itâ€™s based on experience and work and if Iâ€™m wrong, show we where Iâ€™m wrong.â€™ And there was silence.â€
A Bay Area history teacher was suspended from teaching on Thursday over a lesson in which he examined parallels between the rise of Trump and German fascist dictator Adolf Hitler.
The Monterey Herald said that Mountain View High School placed teacher Frank Navarro on paid leave after a parent complained in an email about the lesson and statements that Navarro made in class.
Navarro â€” a 40-year classroom veteran and expert in Holocaust studies â€” said, â€œThis feels like weâ€™re trying to squash free speech. Everything I talk about is factually based. They can go and check it out. Itâ€™s not propaganda or bias if itâ€™s based on hard facts.â€
The school district, Navarro said, would neither reveal the contents of the complaint email nor go over the lesson plan with him to determine what the parent found problematic.
Mountain View/Los Altos High School District Superintendent Jeff Harding told the Herald that Navarro was originally suspended through Wednesday, Nov. 16, but he could return to the classroom as early as Monday.
â€œWe are interested in getting Frank back in the classroom â€¦ weâ€™re just trying to maintain our due diligence,â€ Harding said. â€œWe have a heightened emotional environment right now with the election. Itâ€™s always a challenge to maintain a line in a classroom.â€
Mountain View High Schoolâ€™s newspaper, the Oracle said that some of Navarroâ€™s students that his lessons were â€œone-sidedâ€ and that he used language that Trump supporters would find offensive. Other students have defended the 65-year-old teacher, who has won multiple awards for his studies of the Nazi Holocaust.
In class, Navarro told his students that Hitlerâ€™s persecution of Jewish people bears â€œremarkable parallelsâ€ to Trumpâ€™s campaign rhetoric about Muslims, Latino immigrants and black Americans.
â€œI said (to school officials), â€˜Iâ€™m not pulling these facts out of my hat. Itâ€™s based on experience and work and if Iâ€™m wrong, show we where Iâ€™m wrong.â€™ And there was silence,â€ Navarro said.
Navarro is Mexican-American, born and raised in Oakland. He said that his Latino students have felt vulnerable and fearful in the wake of Trumpâ€™s campaign.
â€œIâ€™ve had Mexican kids come and say, â€˜Hey, Mr. Navarro, I might be deported,â€™â€ he said. â€œIs it better to see bigotry and say nothing? Thatâ€™s what the principal was telling me (during our conversation). In my silence, I would be substantiating the bigotry.â€