Rep. Bean: Antisemitism in K-12 is Where It Starts

( – A Republican Congressman has said that antisemitism in America’s education system begins in kindergarten. Rep. Aaron Bean of Florida addressed a recent hearing by the House Education and Workforce subcommittee on antisemitism and said educators testified that Jewish staff and students fear for their safety and that antisemitism is prevalent in institutions from kindergarten up to the 12th grade.

“We have to acknowledge it, and then we have to root it out,” Rep. Bean insisted before accusing the Biden administration of inaction.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which documents and campaigns against antisemitism, agrees with Rep. Bean and says anti-Jewish hatred is rising in America and is increasingly prevalent in schools. In its most recent survey, the ADL found that belief in antisemitic tropes is higher among young people than their parents.

During a Congressional hearing on May 8 explicitly addressing K-12 education, chancellor of New York City Public Schools David Banks testified that he has removed or disciplined at least a dozen staff members for propagating antisemitism. Mr. Banks added that action was taken against around 30 students. He said he called the police when appropriate and instituted new training programs for more than 1,600 school principals.

The hearing addressed an incident at Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, during which a pro-Israel teacher hid for several hours amid threats from hundreds of students. Mr. Banks condemned the incident but was grilled by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik on why Hillcrest’s principal was not fired. “We’re getting lip service but a lack of enforcement and a lack of accountability,” Rep. Stefanik said.

Meanwhile, President Biden has announced new measures to tackle anti-Jewish sentiment in educational settings, following weeks of anti-Israel protests at American universities. The Department of Education will send guidance to every school, including examples of antisemitism that could spark Civil Rights Act investigations, and colleges will be provided with new safety resources.

Speaking on Holocaust Memorial Day, the President said America had forgotten its lessons.

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