Staffer on leave for directing third graders to act out scenes from Holocaust

A Washington D.C. elementary school staffer has been placed on leave after allegedly directing third graders to act out scenes from the Holocaust, including pretending to dig mass graves.

The incident took place Friday at Watkins Elementary School where students were assigned specific roles during library class. 

One student was reportedly cast as Adolf Hitler while others were directed to dig mass graves and act as if they were dying in a gas chamber, The Washington Post first reported. 

Further, there were allegations that a staff member used hate speech during the lesson, a DC Public Schools (DCPS) spokesperson told NBC News. 

The staff member involved in the incident was placed on leave pending an investigation Friday, DCPS said.

"Last week, we received a report of a classroom of students receiving a lesson that included portraying different perspectives of the Holocaust," the spokesperson said. "Students should never be tasked with acting out any atrocity, especially genocide and war."

The school district said the incident "was not an approved lesson plan."

"We sincerely apologize to our students and families who were subjected to this incident," the spokesperson said.

An investigation has been launched. Students have been offered support by the DCPS Comprehensive Alternative Resolution & Equity Team.

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