School Dealing with Anti-Semitic Comment

On Monday,  the Georgetown  Middle High School  dealt with an offensive Anti-Semitic comment that was made by one student toward another student who is Jewish at baseball practice. After conducting a thorough investigation, the school has dealt with this incident swiftly and assigned appropriate consequences in response to the facts of the situation. Throughout the investigation, the students cooperated fully and the offending student accepted full responsibility for his actions. Both families were contacted , informed of the results of the investigation and notified that consequences , involving discipline and education, were assigned. The police were consulted and will be doing an investigation to determine if this rises to the level of a hate crime.

We are all deeply concerned about this incident and do not condone nor make excuses for this student’s choice. While there are always facts that do not come out in these cases due to the confidentiality of students’ privacy, I can only say that the school has dealt with all parties involved in a fair and appropriate manner and I am confident that this student has learned a hard lesson.

Our  school community will continue to forge ahead with our goal of teaching  acceptance, sensitivity and appreciation for people of all races, religions, cultures, genders and sexual orientation.   As a district , school and community , we must  remain  vigilant that these kinds of incidents will not be accepted or tolerated and symbols  of hate ,whether written or verbal , have no place in the town of Georgetown and in our schools.  We have contacted the Anti- Defamation League and we hope to bring in a program that will increase the awareness and skills of our students, staff and parents about bias and discrimination  through the  “World of Difference Institute”. We will also be using our School Resource Officer to help students understand the consequences that can occur when the civil rights of others are violated.

As an educator , I will always believe that education and productive conversation are essential to healing and building a stronger community when incidents like this occur.  I don’t know if you saw the article written by Bryan McGonigle in the Georgetown Record  entitled, Anti-Semitism Starts at Home, but I urge you to read it. In this article,  he makes the case that  Georgetown  has a problem that needs to be confronted head on because  there have been  three Anti-semitic incidents within a relatively short period of time.  Whether you agree with Mr. McGonigle or not, his article should make us all think and hopefully recommit  to living and raising our children into a world of love,respect, tolerance and acceptance .  I hope we can agree that we have a shared responsibility to ensure that these incidents do not continue to happen , not just anti-Semitic  comments, but any incidents  in which hate and hurt are the message.

It is my sincere hope that  all parents and educators will  use this situation as an opportunity to speak with our young people about how important it is to make good choices when communicating with others , especially when upset, angry or frustrated, and to remember that our words carry powerful messages .  Excuses like, ” I was just kidding” “I didn’t mean anything by it” are not acceptable excuses and applying the golden rule is always the best course of action.  Let’s use our voices and our words to build people up not tear people down.