July 14, 2021
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school board unanimously passed a resolution on July 13 condemning antisemitism, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
The resolution, which was introduced by School Board Member Scott Mark Schmerelson, stated that “there has been a significant rise in hate crimes here in Los Angeles and across the country over the last four years against many racial, ethnic, religious, and other minority groups” and acknowledged that “reports of white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israeli graffiti, bullying, harassment, and violence on LAUSD campuses has been on the rise for the past four years, and administrators, teachers, and student leaders need updated and readily available training and resources to prevent and address anti-Semitism in all its forms.” The resolution also noted that there has been a recent spike in antisemitic attacks and vandalism following the recent escalation between Israel and Hamas.
“The Board of Education denounces the rise in anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israeli rhetoric and hate-motivated crimes and incidents that denigrate Jewish students and staff LAUSD schools and in the communities served by LAUSD in order for every LAUSD campus and office to be a safe and welcoming environment for all students, staff, and families,” the resolution stated, adding that there need to be “updated bulletins, curricular and instructional resources, and training for teachers, staff, administrators, students, and parents to address and prevent anti-Semitism and respond when anti-Semitic vandalism, bullying, harassment, or violence occurs either on campus or in the community, including specific reference to anti-Semitism in the mandated bulletins training at the start of each school year.”
The resolution concluded with a directive for the LAUSD superintendent to “direct all schools and offices to affirm the rights of Jewish students, staff, and families and to report acts of anti-Semitism in schools and the workplace” and to have their curriculum updated “in the areas of Jewish history and culture and the Holocaust” with input from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Simon Wiesenthal Center, and other organizations and experts.
Jewish groups praised the LAUSD school board for the resolution.
“We commend the LAUSD Board of Education for denouncing antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric and calling for updates to its curriculum and resources to help create a productive and safe environment for Jewish students and all students and families,” ADL Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams said in a statement to the Journal. “At ADL we have tracked a significant increase in antisemitic incidents in Los Angeles and across the country during the recent conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas. In this context, it is important to note that rhetoric that demonizes Israel, holds it to a double standard, or rejects its right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state crosses the line into antisemitism and should be firmly condemned by our communities and leaders.”
American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “We welcome LAUSD’s adoption of this resolution and applaud School Board Member Schmerelson’s leadership in spearheading this initiative. It could not come at a better time. Amid an alarming spike in acts of antisemitic violence and anti-Jewish animus in the public square, including anti-Israel vitriol, this reassures Jewish students, staff, and families that antisemitism will not be ignored or excused in the classroom. And that appropriate training and reporting will give this measure teeth. It is also a clear and preemptive ‘shot across the bow’ ahead of the UTLA [United Teachers Los Angeles] vote in September.” Hirschhaut was referencing the UTLA’s scheduled vote on a motion supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein also said in a statement to the Journal, “StandWithUs applauds the LAUSD Board of Education for unanimously passing this resolution of solidarity with the Jewish community and for firmly standing against antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric in our schools. As an organization that works directly with high school students, parents, teachers and community members across the district, we hear the growing concerns of antisemitism in our city and we echo the call for updated educational resources that represent the Jewish community’s history and experiences. Including education about the diverse Jewish community in our classrooms, is a crucial step in combating antisemitism.”
In a Facebook post, the Progressive Zionists of California hailed the resolution as “an achievement in standing against bigotry and hatred of Jews.” “The district has one of the largest populations of Jewish students in the country, and these young folks deserve to feel safe and supported in their places of learning. Mazel tov to everyone who got this resolution passed!”
Read the article here.