Concord Monitor editorial

Now that a Pittsfield English teacher’s well-meaning but flawed attempt to teach his students about the Holocaust has been sharply criticized, he and other teachers may be tempted to scrap the subject altogether. That would be the worst possible end to this story.

Pittsfield Middle High School’s Harry Mitchell took a risk when he decided to supplement his eighth graders’ discussion of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. An extra assignment asked the students to make and wear a yellow star, like the symbol Jews were made to wear in Nazi Germany. “My intention with the star,” Mitchell told Monitorreporter Anne Ruderman, “was to get them to have some empathy and the feeling of what it was like to have to identify yourself with a symbol. If you’re not wearing it, you’re not getting the full awareness of Anne and her family.”