Rialto school board members will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday in response to widespread criticism of an eighth-grade writing assignment that asked students to consider sources that contend the Holocaust never happened.
A group of teachers and the district’s educational services division created the assignment, in which students were asked to research and write an argumentative essay about whether the Holocaust actually occurred or whether it was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth."
School officials say the assignment has since been pulled and will be revised, but the district has experienced withering criticism from groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which called it "grotesque."
In the aftermath of the blowback, a spokeswoman for the Rialto Unified School District told The Times that interim Supt. Mohammad Z. Islam was not aware of its topic until school officials received an email about it.
Syeda Jafri said he was “deeply disturbed” by the assignment and acted swiftly, but declined to comment on whether the teachers involved faced any disciplinary action, citing confidential personnel matters.
"This is a bad mark on our record and we will fix it and move forward," Jafri said.