Tuesday, January 31st | 9 Shevat 5783

December 22, 2022 5:31 pm

Maryland High School Students Stage Walkout to Protest Antisemitism


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, Maryland. Photo: G. Edward Johnson/Wikimedia Commons.

Students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland staged a walkout on Thursday to protest antisemitism, a local ABC outlet reported on Thursday.

On Saturday, “Jews not welcome” was graffitied on the school’s monument sign. The culprits have not yet been identified, and the incident has prompted alarm among students and staff at the school.

“The worst part about what happened to our sign is that the people who wrote it weren’t entirely wrong,” student Rachel Barold said to the hundreds of students who attended the demonstration, according to footage obtained by ABC 7. “Whitman and MCPS [Montgomery County Public Schools] hasn’t been a welcoming community to Jewish people for a long time, and this isn’t an issue that’s unique to MCPS, it’s an issue around the country and around the Earth.”

The student went on to say that Jewish students in the district are stereotyped and that antisemitic graffiti is ubiquitous.

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“It is time that we take action,” Barold continued, calling for education about the Holocaust. “MCPS, please help us,” she added.

Montgomery County Public Schools on Saturday denounced the incident, with Superintendent Monifa McKnight saying on the district’s behalf that it is “deeply disturbed and saddened by the antisemitic graffiti.”

“MCPS’s mission is to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment that celebrates the diversity of our global community and all cultural backgrounds. This hurtful behavior, along with any acts of discrimination, have no place in our school community and will not be tolerated,” she continued.

Another, separate statement by MCPS said, “Acts of hate and bigotry are on the rise across the country and in Montgomery County. Antisemitism and any forms of hate/bias are not welcome in our community. The Montgomery County Police Department takes these events seriously, has coordinated with the Anti-Defamation League, and continues to investigate and identify the person(s) responsible for these incidents. Officers are also actively increasing patrols to include community centers, schools and places of worship throughout the county.”


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