Turning on the Light – UofSC News & Events – SC.edu

Posted By on June 8, 2022

When Mary McElveen was in seventh grade, a boy in her French class told her she shouldnt exist. Because she is Jewish. Because of the Holocaust. Because, to his mind, Hitler was right.

I dont remember what prompted him, McElveen explains, but he said to me, The Jews deserved it. They were taking over the government. Hitler did what he had to do to protect his people. He should have killed them all. You shouldnt be here.

McElveen was one of the only observant Jews at her small Charleston, S.C., school. She was offended. She was scared. She was also young and didnt know how to respond. I just sort of looked at him, she says. Im sure I didnt handle it well. Thankfully, my teacher intervened.

But when school administrators asked if she wanted them to pursue expulsion, McElveen declined. I said no because, at the end of the day, that would have caused more issues. Also, it would have taken away the opportunity for education, where we could learn from each other.

After the incident, the school revamped its curriculum to include more Holocaust literature. And while the boys attitude persisted, eventually, in 10th grade, he apologized. It was a small victory but, for McElveen, a meaningful one. I do think there was a change in him, she says. He said he recognized how terrible the things he said were, that he was immature. He went through a whole spiel.

Now a junior at the University of South Carolina and vice president for religious events and cultural programming with Hillel, the universitys Jewish student organization, McElveen is committed to peer education. Its one reason she took part in a training session at the Anne Frank Center, where she plans to become a docent.

The focus of the training is student-to-student education, McElveen says. As opposed to standing in front of a group and talking, its Lets start a conversation. Hopefully after someone has toured the Anne Frank Center, they can guide their own peers in discussions and have a ripple effect.

The rest is here:

Turning on the Light - UofSC News & Events - SC.edu

Related Posts


Comments are closed.

matomo tracker