Texas Republicans defended a new law targeting critical race theory at public schools, doubling down that the legislation in no way would require teachers to include an "opposing view" of the Holocaust in classroom instruction, as the atrocities of the Nazi regime against Jews and others are historical fact.
"School administrators should know the difference between factual historical events and fiction," Republican state Sen. Kelly Hancock tweeted last week. "Southlake just got it wrong. No legislation is suggesting the action this administrator is promoting."
"The Holocaust was a terrible event in human history based on ignorant hatred," state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, also a Republican, wrote. "It is not a currently controversial or even debatable subject - its occurrence is a fact. HB3979 does not require an "opposing view" and any idea that it would, is incorrect."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, first signed House Bill 3979 into law on June 15. The legislation specifically prevents teachers from instructing students that "one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex," and bans the teachings of the 1619 Project that America was founded to promote slavery, and not the concept of liberty and equality, from course instruction.
The bill also expressly states that teachers who choose to discuss "widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs" are inclined "to explore the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.
The lawmakers’ comments came after NBC News first reported about a recording from Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, of a discussion supposedly about enforcing the law.
"Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979," Gina Peddy, Carroll ISD ’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, tells educators in the recording. "And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing — that has other perspectives."
"We are in the middle of a political mess," Peddy is heard saying, adding her own criticism.
"How do you oppose the Holocaust?" one teacher responds during the discussion about what books can be in classroom libraries.
"Believe me," Peddy says. "That’s come up."
The remarks were quickly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League. Cheryl Drazin, vice president of ADL's Central Division, told the New York Times she was "horrified by this trivialization of the Holocaust," affirming "there are no comparable books to ‘balance’ out this viewpoint."
Carroll Independent School District has since apologized for the administrator’s comments.
"We recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust," Lane Ledbetter, superintendent of the school district serving more than 8,400 students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said in an apology letter. "As we continue to work through implementation of HB3979, we also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts."
More from FOX News