The other instance, and I just think it was out of pure ignorance, was back in 1981 when I was 17. I had obliterated my junior year in high school and my parents sent me to Maine to a summer school/camp. My bunk mate was from Bogota, Columbia and upon finding out I was Jewish, he asked me if I am a good businessman. I then asked him if being Colombian meant he was a cocaine dealer. We then laughed.
I shared this with The Crack Team when we learned today, from several reliable sources at PS 154, of an 11 year old student at PS 154 in the Bronx made several anti-Semitic comments in class and has had a history of making such comments.
His comments did not consist of any gassing Jews, or burning Jews, or throwing Jews down the well. No, it was just ranting about the stereotypical Jew.
The young man exclaimed several time in class, "The Jews have all the money!" to a teacher. Now some might say that this is not anti-Semitic, but we here at SBSB beg to differ. This stereotype was perpetuated by the Nazis and today by radical Muslims and Arabs. During the time of the Inquisition, Jews that did not convert and decided to leave Spain were accosted, and sliced down the middle by people looking for their hidden "Jew Gold." Jews have fought this stereotype for centuries.
But it will continue at PS 154 for DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 when confronted with news of this incident and the background of other incidents concerning this with and the young man did nothing. As usual.
This general lack of action does not surprise us here at SBSB especially in light of a previous insensitivity of Jewish sensibilities in the past. All the young man received was a talking to even though the NYC DOE discipline code gives more than one option;
A23 (Page 21)Using slurs based upon actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, national origin, citizenship/immigration status, weight, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability (for grades K-3, A-F; for grades 4-5, A-I)Think about this. An 11 year old boy is not getting this idea of Jews on his own. He is getting it from somewhere, most probable the media or a family member. Admonishing him, reprimanding him, or a student-teacher conference is just not going to cut it. Either a parent conference or the losing of something significant at school is what is needed.
What is truly needed is something out side the box, like what Andy Griffith did when Opie killed that bird. But no, Responsive Classroom won't allow something like that. The young man won't have any joy.
What an opportunity to have the young man do some independent work researching some of the Holocaust. Or meeting with a Holocaust survivor. Reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Discussing why stereotypes are hurtful and wrong. Meeting with a rabbi and learning about Judaism. Heck, this can be a whole class lesson so the young man won't feel singled out.
But alas, none of this happened. One reason is that DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal truly does not want students to feel bad or feel anything about their actions. The other is the what can appear to some as insensitivity to Jews by DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal. Sometimes lack of action or paying lip service to what should be actionable is very telling/
One wonders though, and it is fair enough to ask, if the student dropped the N-word would there have been a different outcome. We here at SBSB can't say for sure nor do we feel we have all the information to come to a conclusion. Only others, what they feel in their hearts, can come to such a conclusion.
DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal must realize that anti-Semitic remarks have no place in a school. For over 2,000 years Jews have had to put up with vile treatment. In our parents lifetimes over 6 million Jews were murdered. Israel looks at the threat of its destruction day in and day out. Yet at PS 154 not only is nothing done when an 11 year old boy makes anti-Semitic remarks, a teaching moment is not taken advantage of. This is lands at the feet and is the responsibility of DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal