Hitler-themed homework upsets parents of Illinois middle school students

Parents at a middle school in Gurnee, Illinois, are upset after their kids received a controversial Hitler-themed assignment.

One mother said she was “flabbergasted” after she found SpongeBob SquarePants with swastikas in her son’s language arts homework online, Fox 43 reported.

Kelly Masterton told WGN her eighth grade son, Michael, was given the assignment at Woodland Middle School last week called “If You Give Hitler a Country” modeled after the children’s book, “If you give a mouse a cookie.” The assignment had a cartoon-like “My Little Pony” in a Nazi uniform saluting over a map of Europe.

The students were instructed to “create a comic strip for little kids that exemplifies Europe’s appeasement towards Hitler,” using “fun and colorful” pictures.

“I asked him ‘did you ask the teacher if you could use these images?’ and he said ‘yes,’” she said. “Not sure what’s an appropriate manner to use a swastika.”

Kelly posted a picture of the Hitler-themed homework on her Facebook page, prompting other parents to raise questions.

AP

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“There’s got to be a better way to teach our kids about the horrific things Hitler did,” another parent said.

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"I don't think she did it on purpose, to be anti-Semitic,” Kelly said. “I think she was trying to teach that there was propaganda…It did not come through the assignment that way.”

The school district wrote a letter to parents that the objective of the lesson is in alignment with state standards and district curriculum on World War II, but apologized for causing concern for members of the community.

“However, the ‘fun’ and ‘cartoonish’ elements of the activity students were asked to complete did not fully represent the intent of the teachers” or a board policy on teaching of controversial issues, the letter read. “The intent of the student activity was to help students understand the complex issues leading up to World War II, not to minimize the atrocities of Nazi Germany.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke