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'Vile show of anti-Semitism': High school students mob teacher for attending pro-Israel rally

iStock/mapo
iStock/mapo

Hundreds of students rampaged through the halls of a New York high school for around two hours after learning a Jewish teacher attended a pro-Israel rally, vandalizing school property and forcing the faculty member to take refuge in a locked office. 

The planned protest occurred last week at Hillcrest High School after a photo surfaced on Facebook of the unnamed teacher attending the rally on Oct. 9 and holding a sign that read "I stand with Israel."

The pro-Israel rally took place two days after the Hamas terrorist group's surprise attack in Southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the abduction of around 240 others. 

As The New York Post reported Saturday, the students behind the riot planned it in a group chat, flooding the hallways and waving Palestinian flags.

According to several students who witnessed the event, many of the protestors were chanting "Free Palestine." Others called for the teacher's dismissal. 

Video footage of the students' rampage shared on social media shows multiple students assembling in the halls and outside of the school. The footage also showed a clip of a destroyed water fountain and shattered bathroom tiles, property that the students reportedly vandalized. 

The students attempted to storm the teacher's classroom, with school faculty blocking their entry, according to The Post. School administrators and members of the New York Police Department later brought the teacher to an office, where she was locked inside for her own safety.

A sergeant stationed at the school and the school's deans eventually guided the students back to their classrooms while cops escorted the teacher outside the building.

During a PTA meeting the next day, the school's principal, Scott Milczewski, revealed that around 25 cops from the New York Police Department arrived at the scene to quell the riot, according to The Post.

"There are 2,500 students," Milczewski said. "Adults will always be outnumbered. I think that's something we have to understand. And that's why we're asking you to speak to your children. We need your support with this." 

The Hillcrest High School principal did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

According to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), the NYPD also contacted its counterterrorism bureau. Police returned to the school the day after the riot to arrest an 18-year-old student, later charged with aggravated harassment, for making threatening messages inside of a group chat. 

One senior at the high school told The Post that the students had found out the teacher's address, personal contact information and details about her family. While a source told The Post that some people made harassing phone calls to the teacher, the outlet could not confirm the report. 

In a statement to The Post, the teacher shared that she has taught in the New York City Public School System for over 20 years and has spent seven years teaching at Hillcrest High School. The unnamed teacher said that she was "shaken to [her] core" by the violence she experienced online and outside of her classroom. 

"No one should ever feel unsafe at school — students and teachers alike," she said. 

"It's my hope in the days ahead, we can find a way to have meaningful discussions about challenging topics with respect for each other's diverse perspectives and shared humanity," she added. "Unless we can learn to see each other as people, we will never be able to create a safe learning community." 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams responded to the incident in a Saturday X post, describing it as a "vile show of antisemitism," which the mayor declared would not be tolerated in schools or anywhere in the city. 

"The vile show of antisemitism at Hillcrest High School was motivated by ignorance-fueled hatred, plain and simple, and it will not be tolerated in any of our schools, let alone anywhere else in our city," Adams wrote. 

In a follow-up post shared on the same day, the mayor revealed that the New York Department of Education is investigating the incident. He also shared that the department has begun to conduct outreach on the school's campus to help the students understand why their actions were wrong. 

"No student, teacher, or staff member should fear for their safety in our schools," Adams added. 

The New York-based high school is not the only learning institution where anti-Semitic incidents have occurred amid Israel's war with Hamas. 

In one such incident last month at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Jewish students were locked inside a library as pro-Palestine protestors pounded on the doors and chanted "Free Palestine." The staff later evacuated the Jewish students through tunnels. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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