The moment of silence a Manhattan school held last month for dozens of Palestinians killed as they tried to storm the Israeli border was appropriate and even educational, said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Education.
The tribute, announced over the PA system at The Beacon School, came after 60 Palestinians, the vast majority of them members of the Hamas terrorist group, died as they attempted to breach Israel’s sovereign border.
“We support civic engagement and advocacy amongst students,” said Doug Cohen, the deputy press secretary at the Department of Education, “and encourage schools to provide inclusive environments where students are able to respectfully discuss current events.”
The stance was heavily criticized by Jewish groups such as the National Council of Young Israel.
“Equating honoring terrorists with ‘civic engagement and advocacy’ is outrageous,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss, “and the fact that the NYC Department of Education’s spokesperson made this ridiculous assertion raises questions about the department’s policies and procedures relative to activism in NYC public schools.”
After nearly three weeks of silence, the school’s principal issued an apology Friday.
“I regret that the announcement offended anyone in our school community,” principal Ruth Lacey wrote, in a letter to parents obtained by The New York Post. “Moving forward, I will take every care to ensure school-wide announcements are carefully reviewed.”