- A fifth-grade student dressed as Adolf Hitler and gave a speech titled, “Accomplishments.”
- The speech was part of a “Character Development project” organized by his teacher, Fox News said.
- The school’s principal and the student’s teacher have been placed on administrative leave.
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Two staff members have been placed on administrative leave after a fifth-grade student at a New Jersey elementary school gave a first-person speech as Adolf Hitler to his class, according to a statement by Tenafly Public Schools Superintendent Shauna C. DeMarco.
The student at Maugham Elementary School dressed as the Nazi dictator while reading out his handwritten report that was titled, “Accomplishments,” Fox News reported.”My greatest accomplishment was uniting a great mass of German and Austrian people behind me,” the student wrote, according to the media outlet.
“I was pretty great, wasn’t I?” the report continued. “I was very popular, and many people followed me until I died. My belif [sic] in antisemitism drove me to kill more than 6 million Jews.”
The speech, part of a “Character Development project” organized by their teacher, who is Jewish, was displayed in the school’s hallways. It was later shared on Facebook by Lori Birk, an Englewood resident, but has since been deleted.
DeMarco confirmed in a statement on Thursday that an investigation is underway as the project violated the district’s curriculum and that the teacher and principal of the school have been placed on administrative leave.
“They will remain on leave pending the conclusion of my investigation, recommendations to the Board, and the Board’s further action,” DeMarco said. “I also have recommended that the Board appoint an acting principal and replacement teacher at Maugham immediately.”
The superintendent added that the incident has been stressful for many people. “This has had a devastating impact on the student involved and their family, who have been thrown into turmoil through no fault of their own. It has also been incredibly painful for our Jewish community members in the face of increasing instances of antisemitism around the country.”
DeMarco referred to the incident as a “failure” in the statement. “The events that have unfolded represent a failure in both providing the safe learning environment that all our kids need to learn and grow, as well as a failure in the school’s initial handling,’ she said.