Hate Speech Incidents Escalate at PCHS

A+poster+hanging+up+in+the+school+hallway.

A poster hanging up in the school hallway.

Kate Beal, Editor-in-Chief

This is a developing story, check back for more updates.

 

This week, history teacher Josh Goldberg reported a swastika drawn on the underside of his table.  There was also what appeared to be a racial slur scribbled next to the swastika.

 

Principal Roger Arbabi sent an email to the school Thursday night, saying, “Over the course of the last few weeks, we have had multiple incidents of hate speech appearing on our campus. The hate speech has appeared in the form of swastikas and racial slurs at multiple locations.”

 

President of the Jewish Student Union (JSU) Lindsay Benedek heard about the vandalism in Goldberg’s room through other JSU members and advisors.

 

“I was very angry because obviously a lot of discriminatory things can happen and I’ve dealt with it a lot throughout my life,” said Benedek. 

 

“I know a lot of people that are Jewish that have dealt with a lot of antisemitism and it was just very disheartening to hear especially in our own school,” she said.

 

Benedek said that she has experienced antisemitism through the school and student body in the past.  During the first semester of this year, she found another swastika on a clipboard in one of her classes.  She said that she did not report it because she did not think teachers or administrators would respond to her concerns based on her past experiences.

 

Arbabi said in the email that the administration and faculty “will be working to provide learning opportunities for our students to identify and stop hate speech.”

 

The email added, “We encourage all stakeholders to report any hate speech observed at school to an administrator or a trusted adult on our campus. Anonymous tips can be reported through the SafeUT app. We will investigate and follow the Safe School Policy in dealing with any violations.”

 

Benedek has also indicated that the JSU would like to make changes to oppose hate speech, although she was not sure of the specifics.  Her ideas included adding an anti-hate curriculum and an anonymous survey for students to report incidents.

 

Goldberg declined to comment at the current time because he was still learning more information.