Dear NSHS Community,
I wish that I was writing with better news. I am devastated to share that we found a set of swastikas drawn on a toilet seat in our boys’ bathroom located in the Field House lobby. As you know, this is the second incident of antisemitism in as many weeks. I cannot express the anger and frustration that we all feel.
As always, we are conducting a full investigation using our Non-Discrimination protocol. We have also contacted the Newton Police Department and the Anti-Defamation League to ask for their assistance.
We will continue to offer space during our Advisory block on Monday, as well as during WIN blocks throughout the week for students to process this incident. Our South Human Rights Council, in conjunction with our Jewish Staff Affinity Group and the Jewish Student Union, will be taking the lead in facilitating this work. We will share more specific information about these opportunities with students and staff in the coming days.
I want to assure you that we as a school and district are deeply dedicated to addressing issues of hate and discrimination and to educating our students to stand up against hate. To that end, an important part of our 10th grade History curriculum is Holocaust and antisemitism education. We are also engaging with the Lappin Foundation, who will be helping us to deliver a five-week Holocaust Symposium during some upcoming WIN blocks. All students are welcome to sign up.
I know today’s news is quite upsetting, and it saddens and angers me to have to even communicate this information. In fact, before sending this, I paused, because I do not want these emails to desensitize us. However, I decided to bring this to the forefront because I believe that we must actively call out hate in all its forms, in order to work towards an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome.
A few of you contacted me last week to extend your support, and I deeply appreciate it. I am counting on your partnership as we continue to work through this; if you so choose, please check in with your South student about what happened and reinforce the ongoing negative impact of antisemetic and hateful symbols on our community and the world. We will do the same. I will continue to keep you informed, as I am able, as we move through our process.
Tamara (Tamii) Stras