DIGHTON – Faced with the flashback after equate vaccination cards with the Holocaust, a member of the Dighton-Rehoboth regional school committee offered a partial apology but vowed not to resign.
Katie Ferreira-Aubin has linked vaccines to the systematic extermination of Jews and others in a since-deleted TikTok video in which she points to the headline “COVID Identification Certificate” and then a photo of the tattoo on her arm. a survivor of the Nazi death camp. A message appears in red: “Same thing, different strategy!
The superintendent of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District said the message and others from Ferreira-Aubin do not reflect the values of the district.
“As a former teacher who taught about the Holocaust, comparing vaccination requirements to the Holocaust is both wrong and unfortunate,” Superintendent Anthony Azar wrote on the neighborhood website.
Ferreira-Aubin declined to comment further, but posted a public statement on his Facebook page.
“I want to apologize for the way my personal messages were taken in a way different from what I had expected and for the stress this may have caused to the members of the committee and the community”, a- she writes.
Ferreira-Aubin also noted that she had since deleted her TikTok account, “not out of guilt but to stop giving media ammunition against me.”
“I have no intention of defending my posts. This is my personal page and I have the right to freedom of speech and expression. I’ll be honest and okay with when people say my posts are unprofessional, rude, and could be misinterpreted. This is all true. Do I think I let down the community members who voted for me 100% and for that I’m sorry.
Local Jewish community reacts
Voters elected Ferreira-Aubin on a platform of no mask or vaccination requirements for DR schools when they reopen, arguing those choices should be left to parents of children. Taunton synagogue chief Agudath Achim said that while people of goodwill may have different ideas about vaccinations, it is never appropriate to draw analogies to Nazi crimes.
“The victims of the Holocaust had no choice,” said Colman Reaboi, cantor of the Winthrop Street congregation. “In this case, we certainly have a choice of being vaccinated or not being vaccinated.”
Reaboi said people have become flippant about comparing things with the Holocaust or Adolf Hitler or the concentration camps.
“I think part of it is ignorance and part of it is political,” Reaboi said. “It catches people’s attention.”
Reaboi invited the first-term school committee member to learn more about the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews and how the Hitler regime systematically killed Roma, gays and the disabled as well. His grandmother survived being sent to a labor camp, he said, where she “spent a year and a half digging charcoal and chopping wood for the Nazi war machine.” Her father, now deceased, was hidden in his Ukrainian village during the pogroms until escape to Romania became possible.
“Instead of berating Ms. Ferreira-Aubin, the Jewish community and I welcome her to sit and talk to me and learn more about the Holocaust,” Reaboi said. “I think the best way to reduce fear, bigotry and prejudice is education.”
A petition calls for the resignation of a member of the school committee
For her part, Ferreira-Aubin said she had learned a lot from the backlash.
“I appreciate all the criticisms and comments,” she wrote in her statement on Facebook. “Our district has been in a bad light, I’ve been in a bad light, but we can change that if we stand up for parents’ rights and get our students back to school like before the pandemic, that’s the change that our community is asking for. ”
A petition call on Ferreira-Aubin’s resignation had 308 signatures at the time of publication. She said she did not plan to do so.
“It has been suggested that I resign and I want to let you know that I will not,” Ferreira-Aubin wrote on Facebook. “I was elected for a voice and a choice, whether I agree or not, it’s the parents who choose, not the district.”
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