Report: Lesson on Hitler leads to suspension of Middlesex middle school teacher

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According to a published report, a teacher at Middlesex Middle School was suspended after he told students to draw a swastika in their notebooks and asked them to write a paragraph explaining why Hitler might have been good for Germany.

The article, published Thursday in the Connecticut Examiner and citing unnamed “multiple sources,” said an unnamed “experienced” social studies teacher taught a seventh-grade lesson about the Holocaust. According to the report, the teacher showed students a baby picture of Adolf Hitler. The report said the teacher commented on how cute the child was.

Some seventh grade students were “reportedly visibly upset,” according to the Examiner report.

The report did not say that the teacher made any statements in support of Hitler or Nazism, either in plain language or with clear allusions to such support.

According to the report, Middlesex Principal Karolyn Dahlstrom sent an email to parents at the school Thursday morning saying the school administration was taking the incident seriously and was reviewing it. Disgruntled students would be encouraged to see a school counselor.

Principal Alan Addley sent an email to “teachers and families” on Friday, saying that “the allegations are serious” regarding “a middle school lesson about the Holocaust that was reported in the press yesterday.”

He said the matter was being investigated. “Because the investigation is ongoing and students are involved, I cannot provide our community with any specific information regarding this matter.” (Scroll down to see the full text of Addley’s email.)

Greater context

The local incident came at a time when reports of anti-Semitic incidents had increased by 361% nationwide following the October 7 massacre of Israelis by Palestinian attackers linked to the terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In a report in early January, the Anti-Defamation League compared the three-month period after Oct. 7 to the same period a year earlier.

According to CNN: “About 40%, or 1,353 anti-Semitic incidents, involved verbal or written harassment, the ADL said. According to the ADL, there were 553 incidents of vandalism and 60 physical assaults.”

In a news release, the ADL said, “At least 500 incidents occurred on college campuses and an additional 256 were reported in K-12 schools.”

The January 9th press release also stated:

“The American Jewish community faces a level of threat unprecedented in modern history,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “It is shocking that we have registered more anti-Semitic acts in three months than in a whole year.”

Full text of Addley’s email

Dear faculty and families,

I have received questions from members of our school community about a middle school lesson on the Holocaust that was reported in the press yesterday. The allegations are serious and we are in the process of investigating them. Because the investigation is ongoing and students are involved, I cannot share specific information regarding this matter with our community.

If we receive reports that students or others in our school community are feeling uncomfortable or unsafe for any reason, we respond promptly to assess and address these concerns while supporting those affected. Maintaining a safe school environment free of anti-Semitism and other forms of hate is our top priority at Darien Public Schools.

Families whose children may need assistance dealing with these issues should contact their school principal, who can connect your child with a school counselor or other trusted adult.


Dr. Alan Addley