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October 27, 2021 3:56 pm

San Diego School District Commits to ‘Fighting Antisemitism,’ Citing Rise in Hate Crimes


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

A makeshift memorial was placed by a light pole a block away from a shooting incident where one person was killed at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California, U.S. April 27, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/John Gastaldo

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) adopted a resolution Tuesday denouncing antisemitism and promoting education about the Holocaust, citing a rise in recent years in anti-Jewish harassment on its campuses.

“The Board of Education denounces the rise in antisemitic rhetoric and hate-motivated crimes and incidents that denigrate Jewish students and staff in the communities served by SDUSD,” said the resolution, passed at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

It also “affirms the rights” of Jewish students, staff and families to work to revise school materials “to ensure they are inclusive and reflective of best practices and the full diversity of Jewish people including those in California and San Diego.”

The second largest district in the state, SDUSD serves over 120,000 students from pre-school through 12th grade.

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Jewish groups cheered the resolution’s passage, with the local Anti-Defamation League office calling it “an important message to the community that antisemitism has no place in our schools.”

“With the rise of antisemitism across the country, SDUSD and other school districts cannot ignore the reality that Jewish communities face. According to the FBI’s most recent hate crimes report, 57 percent of reported religious-based crimes were directed against Jews — even though Jews make up only 2 percent of the country’s population,” Kelsey Greenberg Young, ADL San Diego Education Director, told The Algemeiner.

“While the purpose of this Resolution is to demonstrate that SDUSD is committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate, there are those who attempt to wield forums like these as a political tool in advancing the agenda of fringe activists who sought to derail the true intent of the Resolution, which is to ensure safe and welcoming classrooms for our students,” Greenberg Young commented.

The heated debate at Tuesday’s board meeting included testimony from Jewish students, according to a local CBS affiliate report, including one current student who told of seeing posters at school that “labeled Jews ‘colonizers.'” An opponent of the measure who also spoke charged the district with working with “proven Islamophobic organizations.”

The resolution specifically rejected the notion “that Jewish students or the Jewish population are somehow responsible for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

It also directs the district’s Superintendent to work with Jewish groups and the recently-created Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education, to develop and promote a speaker’s bureau on genocide.

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