Verify: Were students given an assignment claiming 9/11 was caused for US supporting Israel?

QUESTION: Did an elementary school assign students to read an article that claimed 9/11 was caused in retaliation for America supporting Israel?

QUESTION:

Did an elementary school assign students to read an article that claimed 9/11 was caused in retaliation for America supporting Israel?

ANSWER:

Yes, this is true.

SOURCES:

Jeff Bowman, Chief Information Officer at Cupertino Union School District, Newslea

PROCESS:

A California school is coming under fire after a post was shared on social media about a teacher who taught assigned her kids to read an article that 9/11 was caused in retaliation for America’s support of Israel.

Chief Information Officer Jeff Bowman at Cupertino Union School District confirmed to WUSA9 News that this did indeed happen. Bowman explains the 5th grade teacher at Stocklmeir Elementary School, was trying to use a current events article on 9/11 to explain why the flags were being flown at half-staff.

He said student were asking her about the topic. The school uses a system called Newsela which takes current event articles and makes the content age appropriate for different reading levels. One parent complained the day after 9/11 saying it was offensive.

But the teacher’s intention was to help kids get used to Newsela, a learning tool Bowman explains.

She let kids pick one of five articles to discuss in class. One of those articles was “The history of 9/11 attacks.”

A Newslea spokesperson has since responded about the incident with the following statement:

“We are dedicated to keeping bias and misinformation out of our content. As a result of this incident we are implementing new review procedures to ensure we have more checks in place for bias for controversial topics.

We apologize for this oversight and as a company our intention is to remain as objective as possible. We’re particularly grateful for educators who help us improve by speaking up and holding us accountable. Our goal is always to help children learn to read, become critical thinkers and help foster empathy across the board.”

Newslea said they took these following steps to correct the situation once they learned about the language used in the article:

· We amended the article as quickly as possible.

· We posted banners, alerting teachers who may have assigned the article prior to the correction that a mistake had been made.

· Our managing editor emailed individuals who contacted us about the article with an apology and offered to discuss further.

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© 2017 WUSA-TV


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