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Planned teach-in at Oakland schools would present Palestinian perspective to students

Possible teach-in at Oakland schools would have pro-Palestine curriculum
Possible teach-in at Oakland schools would have pro-Palestine curriculum 04:03

OAKLAND — A group of Oakland teachers are planning a "teach-in" Wednesday that shows the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and its history through a Palestinian perspective. 

The demonstration is causing local parents to consider holding their kids back from schools during the lesson plan but not all teachers will be participating. 

CBS News Bay Area obtained a Google document that details the proposed curriculum for Oakland students ages kindergarten through high school to learn about the centuries-old conflict. 

"Know that our outrage is noble and just. Our power is building and you can play a big role in that," states a Youtube video that encourages teachers to participate.

It's not clear who created or published the video. 

ALSO READ: Oakland Unified superintendent takes stand against planned teach-in on war in Gaza

"It's devastating to Oakland families, especially Jewish families," Rabbi Dovid Labkowski of Chabad Oakland, told CBS News Bay Area. "Education is about teaching right from wrong, morals and values, when you decide you don't like something happening in the world and you decide to put together a curriculum that's going to teach about hating other people that's what this is about, this is about hating Jews."

He said the teach-in deepens antisemitism in a city that he says has never experienced such hate. 

"What it does I think is that it means people who look Jewish will be targeted," Lobkowski explained. "Antisemitism was never really a factor here in Oakland; we have one of the most diverse populations in the country. It's a great place to live, great place for families, but this antisemitism is devastating."

The lesson plan comes from a group called OEA for Palestine. It's a group of teachers who want to use the day to teach about Palestinian liberation. 

Their material and the teach-in are not backed by the Oakland school district, but local CAIR president Zahara Billoo said it presents an opportunity for current events to be taught. 

"This is important this is necessary to teach kids about current events is frankly what it comes down to," Billoo told CBS News Bay Area. 

The suggested curriculum mentions the term intifada which is an arabic word for rebellion that has often been linked to violent uprisings. 

But Billoo sees the teach-in as an opportunity to promote inclusion. 

"Some of the first complaints we received were of students feeling alienated and targeted at schools," she explained, "so when I heard I was excited, and I thought this is a good opportunity to counter some of the misinformation about Israel."

But for Labkowski, he believes leaving out Israel's perspective may be harmful to the Jewish community, particularly in the days before Hanukkah. 

"Lighting up the world and fighting the darkness that's what Hanukkah is about," he said. "It was the few against the many and that's what it's about today, kindness brings kindness, hate brings hate but positivity brings positivity."

Oakland Unified School District superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement that "the District does not authorize this action. Furthermore, I want to make clear that the instructional materials developed and shared by the teach-in organizers are not aligned with the materials and guidance previously provided by our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Sondra Aguilera."

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