Daily Mail – March 11, 2010
A group of stunned primary schoolchildren began crying when their teacher told them during a bizarre Holocaust game that they were to be taken away from their families.
The pupils, aged 11, became upset after a number of them were segregated and told they were being sent away or might end up in an orphanage.
The ordeal was meant to give the youngsters at the Lanarkshire school an insight into the horrors faced by Jewish children during World War II.
But the exercise, which was sprung without warning on the children at St Hilary's Primary School in East Kilbride last Thursday morning, reduced several to tears.
Deputy head teacher Elizabeth McGlynn segregated nine pupils and told them they were to be sent away. After 15 minutes they were told it was all an act but that the role play would carry on up to lunchtime.
One angry parent, who has lodged an official complaint about the exercise, told how the 'barbaric' role play upset the children.
In a letter sent to council bosses, the unnamed mother said: 'Mrs McGlynn told the children they would probably have to be sent away from their families and that their parents had been informed about this and knew all about it.
'When one child asked if that meant they might have to go to an orphanage, they were told that might be a possibility.
'At that point many of the children became very distressed.
'One boy kicked his chair over, one was angry and demanded to speak to someone in charge but most were crying on a scale ranging from mildly to severely.
'Their ordeal lasted between 12 and 15 minutes before the children were informed that it was all an act but that the role play would continue until lunchtime.'
One girl said her classmates began crying when Mrs McGlynn told them she had a letter from the Scottish Executive saying nine children had to be separated from their classmates.
She told the shocked youngsters those who were born in January, February and March had lower IQs than other children, 'due to lack of sunlight in their mother's womb', and that they had to put yellow hats on and be sent to the library.
The mother added: 'When I asked why on earth they thought it was appropriate to deliver a role play situation to the children in this way, Mrs Stewart informed me that they didn't inform the children beforehand.
'This was because they wanted the children to experience an "accurate emotional response" to this scenario in order for it to be reflected in their story writing.
'Mrs Stewart then invited me to come up to the school and see the excellent work that had been produced as a result of the exercise.
'I declined and my position and opinion on the method used to extract emotive story writing from the children was cruel, barbaric, traumatic and totally, totally unethical.
'My daughter and indeed no child needs to feel the terror, fear, panic, segregation and horror that a child of the Holocaust experienced during one of the worst atrocities in history to be able to empathise with them in order to produce good story writing.'
A South Lanarkshire council spokeswoman, who confirmed that a role play activity took place, said: 'The council can confirm that a parent handed in a letter to Education Resources on Monday, March 8, 2010, and this will be responded to shortly.'
An estimated six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Jewish children in Nazi Europe had to wear yellow Star of David badges during World War II.
Jews also had to live apart from the rest of the population in ghettos.
Finally they were taken to concentration camps, where most were separated from their parents then killed.
Last updated 14/03/2010