May 7, 2014 (San Diego)-- Senator Marty Block, who represents San Diego’s 39th State Senate District, today issued the following statement after learning that the Rialto Unified School District assigned eighth grade students an essay debating the reality of the Holocaust:
“Recently eighth grade students in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to assess whether the Holocaust ‘was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.’
“As chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, it is abhorrent to me that students would be asked to question whether the Holocaust occurred. The assignment trivializes a painful and despicable episode in human history that is well-documented. There are many issues open to robust debate that can test students’ critical thinking skills. The reality of the Holocaust is not one of them. It is absolute historical fact. Holocaust denial is the province of white supremacists, virulent anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, not responsible historians.
“I was pleased to learn that the Rialto school district has canceled the assignment, but it is my hope that students, faculty and administrators seize this opportunity to study the Holocaust and ponder its tremendous cost. As important is the lesson that we must all fight the intolerance and hate that led to the depraved crimes that constituted the Holocaust.
“The Legislative Jewish Caucus thanks Senator Norma Torres (SD-32) and Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (AD-47) who represent the Rialto school district for their immediate condemnation of this outrageous assignment.”