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Outraged NYC parents, teachers demand David Banks be held accountable by Congress over antisemitism

Parents, teachers and advocates need Schools Chancellor David Banks to be held “accountable” for what they are saying are hole guarantees to fight antisemitism in New York City lecture rooms when he’s grilled by Congress this week.

Banks will journey to Washington DC alongside faculty district leaders from Maryland’s Montgomery County and Berkeley, California on Wednesday to testify at a congressional listening to about antisemitism in Ok-12 colleges.

“We hope the hearing will hold Banks accountable and drive him to become the leader that Jewish students and families need,” stated Tova Plaut, founding father of NYCPS Alliance, an advocacy group of dad and mom, educators and group members that has been vocal in regards to the situation of antisemitism in metropolis colleges.

Chancellor David Banks
Chancellor David Banks will journey to D.C. with district leaders from Maryland’s Montgomery County and Berkeley California on Wednesday to reply to antisemitism in Ok-12 colleges. William Farrington

“I want to hear from Chancellor David Banks that he truly understands that some of the schools he runs are actively inhospitable to Jewish students and staff and it is his responsibility to address the cultural safety concerns,” added Maud Maron, a Manhattan mother and member of the Community Education Council District 2.

The Big Apple faculty system — the most important within the US — has seen a number of flare-ups amid the Israel-Hamas battle, together with an anti-Israel scholar riot at Queens’ Hillcrest High School, a citywide scholar walkout calling for a ceasefire within the Gaza Strip and allegations of heinous antisemitism at Brooklyn’s Origins High School.

Jim Walden, an lawyer who represents Danielle Kaminsky — a Jewish trainer who claims Origins High School college students terrorized her with swastikas, dying threats and Nazi salutes — stated Banks’ response, to this point, has been “pathetic.”

“Bluntly, we hope Congress exposes Banks latent anti-Israel/anti-Jewish bias and helps bring change to the DOE and across the country,” he informed The Post on Tuesday.

Walden added he hopes Congress will go laws to tie federal funding to compliance with anti-bias requirements that “have teeth.”

When approached for remark, the DOE pointed to a press convention from final week through which Banks previewed the message he intends to ship earlier than the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, emphasizing that he’s been working to fight “all forms of hate.”

Hillcrest High School students participating in an anti-Israel rally on Nov. 20, 2023.
Hillcrest High School college students collaborating in an anti-Israel rally on Nov. 20, 2023. Dennis A. Clark

Banks acknowledged that town’s response hasn’t been “perfect,” however maintained he was pleased with what the division has performed to this point, lauding his “Meeting the Moment” plan — described as an initiative to deal with antisemitism by means of training, security and engagement.

“Putting a spotlight on any particular individual and sometimes trying to create ‘gotcha’ moments is not how you ultimately solve problems that you really, deeply care about,” he stated. 

“I would ask for Congress to figure out a way to bring people together from across the nation to help to solve for this insidious level of hate.”

Banks additionally famous the event of the interfaith council, curricula on Jewish and Muslim historical past and his revision of the disciplinary code with metropolis principals.

An Origins High School student caught on camera doing a Nazi salute in the hallway while dressed as Hitler.
An Origins High School scholar is caught on digicam doing a Nazi salute within the hallway whereas dressed as Hitler. Courtesy of Sidney Southerland
The word "die" written on the door of a Jewish teacher's classroom at Origins High School.
The phrase “die” written on the door of a Jewish trainer’s classroom at Origins High School.

Manhattan mother and Community Education Council District 3 member, Yael Denbo, stated combining Islamophobia and antisemitism is “oversimplifying the complexities of each form of prejudice” and unnecessarily pitting the 2 teams towards each other.

“In January, Banks promised to ‘meet the moment,’ but those words have felt like empty promises. I hope tomorrow brings a moment of clarity where Chancellor Banks will have to address his inaction,” she added.

Rep. Aaron Bean, who chairs the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, informed The Post that he and House Education and Workforce Committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx would “do whatever it takes” to carry Banks accountable — together with utilizing the congressional panel’s subpoena energy.

“She’s ratcheted it up against the other witnesses that have come before us,” Bean (R-Fla.) stated of Foxx (R-NC).

“Especially if they’re not truthful, if they’re not honest or if they’re not doing all they can do to keep students and faculty safe.”

He added that pulling federal funds from faculty districts failing to research Title VI complaints was additionally “100% on the table,” together with revoking visas for international college students who’re discriminating towards fellow classmates.

“They’ve been given a chance — few have — to study in the United States,” Bean stated. “They need to go home. And certainly anybody associated with the high school that’s here from a foreign country that’s instigating things. They need to be on the first flight out.

“We have to bring our colleagues on the other side to that realization that there needs to be consequences,” he added.

The similar committee has grilled faculty presidents from Columbia, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and MIT in current months.

“Antisemitism isn’t just rearing its ugly head on college campuses. It’s seeping into K-12 schools as well,” Foxx stated. 

“Jewish K-12 students, faculty, and staff have been forced to contend with repeated harassment, disruptions, verbal abuse. We are holding leaders of some of the most embattled school districts to account for their glaring failure to discipline antisemitic perpetrators and to provide a safe learning environment for Jewish students and staff.”

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