NewsLocal News


Omaha educators and ADL react to incident at Westside Middle School; Hitler quote written on marker board

Omaha educators are speaking out after a staff member wrote a quote on a board by Adolf Hitler that was displayed in an 8th grade hallway. Now, the school is working to address inclusivity across the district.
Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 19:41:06-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - "That tragic era in our history when light was obscured by darkness." Those words are written on a memorial wall dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. Seventy-six years later, educators are still fighting antisemitism.

On Tuesday, school administrators with Westside Community Schools sent families an email apologizing for quote that was written on a marker board at Westside Middle School.

"My first immediate thought was we do not quote Adolf Hitler," said Halley Taylor with the Anti-Defamation League.

Taylor believes education is the only way we fight intolerance.

"Truly it's also a gift to every one of us because we are able to again have another conversation of anti-bias education, of anti-racism work," Taylor said.

3 News Now got a statement from the principal and superintendent that says in part: "We want to talk about why this is a hard topic and why it is considered insensitive. Hitler used hatred of others, particularly Jews, to stoke nationalism and grab control of the German government."

After the incident, the school district reached out to Kael Sagheer of the Institute for Holocaust Education for a plan. Sagheer also asked for a meeting with the staff member who wrote the quote.

"Conversations are better than just throwing resources at people because sometimes you just need that personal touch to understand what happened and why, and hear someone else's perspective," Sagheer said.

Sagheer hopes that by having these hard conversations, people can address a society rife with discrimination.

"The more we understand about where things come from and why things are upsetting to some people, the better human beings we can be," Sagheer said.

For the rest of the week, students in their homerooms are watching videos and using question cards to address the issues. The Anti-Defamation League is also working with the District to put together programming for the fall.