School Leader Details Haunting Antisemitic Protest Chant

( – On May 8, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing to discuss rising antisemitism in the nation’s K-12 public schools. Several witnesses testified, from the Berkeley Unified School District’s superintendent to Mr. David Banks, the chancellor of New York City Public Schools. He provided some haunting remarks regarding a protest chant at one of the schools he oversees.

Banks advised lawmakers that his office had documented 281 incidents involving protesting students since Hamas launched its deadly attack on Israel. He confirmed that approximately 30% of them involved Islamophobic speech, and 42% were antisemitic. The chancellor said the New York City Department of Education takes “every single one of those [indicents] very, very seriously.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) questioned Banks about a troubling incident at Brooklyn’s Origins High School. She noted that an independent investigation determined a student called a history teacher a “dirty Jew.” Likewise, another pupil told her, “I wish you were killed.”

Banks said that the allegations surrounding incidents at Origins “troubled” him the most of the scores of documented cases of antisemitism. He said his office found a “wide range of deeply troubling anti-Semitic [incidents] that have happened at Origins High.”

The school official sidestepped Stefanik’s claim that students were chanting “Death to the Jews” while marching through the school’s hallways. He said his staff hadn’t found any evidence to show that “actually happened” so far.

However, Banks may have a solid reason for avoiding discussing the incidents involving Origins High in more detail. He told lawmakers that administrators had suspended several students there, resulting in several lawsuits. He said he had been advised to avoid discussing any “specific” details surrounding incidents that “happened there.”

Banks concluded that portion of his remarks by noting that his office can’t prevent anti-Semitic incidents from happening. But, officials “respond in an appropriate fashion” to any reported problems.

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