A history teacher at a California high school has been placed on paid leave after drawing parallels in his lesson plan between President-elect Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler.
The San Jose Mercury reports that Frank Navarro, who’s taught at Mountain View High School in Mountain View, Calif., for 40 years, was asked to leave school last week after a parent sent an email to the school expressing concerns about statements Navarro made in class.
Navarro, an expert on the Holocaust, says school officials declined to read him the email and also declined his request to review the lesson plan with him.
“This feels like we’re trying to squash free speech,” he says. “Everything I talk about is factually based. They can go and check it out. “It’s not propaganda or bias if it’s based on hard facts.”
In a message posted on the high school's web page, Jeff Harding, superintendent of the Mountain View/Los Altos High School District, disputed the reports about the reasons the district took action against Navarro.
"I am not at liberty to share specific personnel matters," Harding says, "but I can state that – despite what the various media headlines say – the teacher's paid leave was not for teaching a lesson comparing Trump to Hitler."
The Oracle, Mountain View High’s student newspaper, reported that some of Navarro’s students alleged his lessons were one-sided and that Navarro said things about Trump that his supporters would find offensive. Other students defended Navarro.
Navarro says his lesson plan was not based on personal opinion, but historical facts. The 65-year-old was named a Mandel Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997 and has studied at the International Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. Hitler’s persecution of Jews and rise to power has “remarkable parallels” to Trump’s comments on Latinos, Blacks and Muslims in his own bid for power, he says.
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