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Board of Education Passes Resolution

At a special board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of the following resolution: 

 

Urgent call for Unequivocal Condemnation of Antisemitism, Islamophobia and Hamas Terrorism

WHEREAS the Board of Education of the Great Neck Public Schools conscientiously fosters a community of care, which includes all of our public school and nonpublic school families from all cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds; and

WHEREAS on September 20, 2023, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education adopted Annual Board Goals which further include:

“Celebrate Coexistence. In order to support students’ capacities for belonging, we will continue to support curriculum, literature, and co-curricular activities which reflect the pluralism of our community. We support proficiencies in varied cultures, heritages, needs and abilities of learners within our community, as well as the many languages spoken at home." (“All means all.”); and

WHEREAS, according to the Anti-Defamation League Center On Extremism, recorded instances of antisemitism in the United States have increased by 388% since October, 2022; and

WHEREAS, on November 7, 2023, the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights issued a letter referencing “a nationwide rise in reports of hate crimes and harassment, including an alarming rise in disturbing antisemitic incidents and threats to Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students on college campuses and in P-12 schools, the fulfillment of school communities’ federal legal obligations to ensure nondiscriminatory environments have renewed urgency” with a reminder that “hate-based discrimination, including based on antisemitism and Islamophobia among other bases, have no place in our nation’s schools;” and

WHEREAS, on the same day, the President of the United States warned all U.S. schools to take immediate action to stop antisemitism and Islamophobia citing an alarming rise in threats and harassment; and

WHEREAS, according to information published by the U.S. Department of State, Hamas has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization since October 8, 1997; and,

WHEREAS, the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) issued publications entitled “On the Impact of the Israel-Palestine Crisis on Our Students” on October 11, 2023, and the “Israeli-Palestinian Crisis Resources” on October 13, 2023 (the “NYSED publications”); and,

WHEREAS, neither of these NYSED publications condemn Hamas terrorism, antisemitism, or Islamophobia; and,

WHEREAS, the Board of the Education of the Great Neck Public Schools turns in allyship to our fellow guardians of education at the State Education Department to join our elected officials and us to voice clear, unequivocal condemnation of Hamas terrorism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia in schools since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023; and,

WHEREAS, it is the Board of Education’s opinion that anyone who opposes antisemitism and opposes Islamophobia must, also, oppose Hamas; and,

WHEREAS, the Board of Education believes that the time is overdue for the State of New York’s guardians of education at the NYSED to explicitly name and condemn Hamas terrorism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia; and,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Great Neck Public Schools respectfully urges that the NYSED condemn Hamas terrorism, and take affirmative steps to allocate resources to combat the rising antisemitism and Islamophobia in the State of New York, as well as use available resources to bring educational and community leaders together in efforts to combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia; and, for NYSED to update its publications and messaging to be consistent with the spirit and intent of the November 7, 2023, communications from the federal government and agencies, effective immediately.