The Midwesterner has acquired the first part of a two-part assignment dealing with the current war between Hamas-controlled Palestine and Israel given to Sand Creek High School ninth-graders.

The second part of the assignment, as reported by The Midwesterner on Tuesday, required students to role play as a pro-Hamas U.S. college student.

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When parent Lisa Kay expressed her concerns that the assignment seemed to elicit sympathy for the Hamas cause to the school, she was told the first assignment reflected the “pro-Israel” side of the story.

Kay received the first assignment and shared it with The Midwesterner. The assignment begins with a packet compiled by The Learning Network containing articles and essays from the New York Times followed by essay questions for students to answer.

The Learning Network introductory essay notes that the war between Hamas and Israel was sparked by the Oct. 7, 2023, “highly coordinated invasion of Israel, with terrorists attacking towns and killing people in their homes and on the streets. More than 1,200 Israelis died, including more than 100 young revelers who were dancing at an outdoor rave. Over 240 Israelis were taken hostage by Hamas. It was the deadliest attack on Israel since its founding. Israeli authorities have said they are investigating reports that the attackers committed widespread sexual violence.”

But the following paragraph suggests Israel disproportionally overreacted in its response, and unnecessarily caused civilian suffering without mentioning Hamas militias garrisoned in tunnels beneath Palestinian hospitals, schools, and other civilian areas.

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“In response, Israel launched in Gaza one of the most intense military campaigns in modern history. So far, Israel’s forces have killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children, according to Gaza health officials, and displaced more than 80 percent of the enclave’s surviving population, according to the United Nations.”

According to the document, the November truce that saw the release of 100 hostages by Hamas and 200 jailed Palestinians by Israel “collapsed” without any explaining that Hamas began firing rockets at Israel.

The student document includes a quote from NYT writer Roger Cohen, who said: “There are two narratives. There are two versions of events,” referring to the decades of ongoing strife between Israel and Palestine. The rest of the introductory essays relates how the world “has lost patience with Israel’s war in Gaza, where a humanitarian crisis grows worse daily” and includes a lengthy paragraph on the charges of “genocide” wielded against Israel.

One of the essays questions reads: “Does South Africa’s charge accusing Israel have merit? Or, is the charge a “moral obscenity”? EXPLAIN why.

The class instructor Hallie Vontroba has not responded to The Midwesterner’s attempts to contact her in order to answer the question how the first assignment represents the “pro-Israel” stance.