Teacher Who Attended Pro-Israel Event Forced to Hide From Mob of Students in Queens High School

By Hamodia Staff

Hillcrest High School (googlemaps)

A group of hundreds of students in a Queens high school rioted on November 20, demanding that a teacher who attended a pro-Israel rally be fired, while they attempted to force their way into the teacher’s locked classroom and shouted antisemitic epithets.
The riot, which occurred at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, threatened the safety of the teacher, and lasted two hours. Students reportedly screamed antisemitic epithets and pro-Palestinian slogans, displayed Palestinian flags, acted violently and destroyed school property.
Pictures of the teacher, whose name was withheld to protect her safety, attending a pro-Israel rally on October 9 were found on her personal social media account.
“A bunch of kids decided to make a group chat, expose her, talk about it, and then talk about starting a riot,” a student told The New York Post.
“Everyone was screaming, ‘Free Palestine,’ and, ‘The teacher needs to go!’” another student said.
School security staff prevented the mob, who were searching for the teacher, from entering her classroom.
NYPD officers and school administrators discovered the plans at around 11:20 a.m., just in time to bring the teacher into a secured office, another teacher told the Post.
Recordings of the incident were posted to social media, with some students playing Arabic music over the visual display.
A water fountain was ripped out in a hallway and tiles were destroyed in a bathroom. Students subsequently admitted to committing those acts of vandalism.
About 25 NYPD officers were sent to contain the situation, and City Councilman James Gennaro said that counterterrorism squads were alerted to a possible threat on the school.
Brooklyn City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov posted on social media on November 27 that several students at Hillcrest had called for the murder of the teacher online, and included exact details about when and where her classes were held.
Vernikov, along with the other members of the city’s Common Sense Caucus, released a statement saying, “On November 20, students not only disrupted the school but also horrifyingly threatened to execute a Jewish teacher due to her pro-Israel stance, obtained her personal address and demanded her dismissal. This unconscionable behavior severely violates almost every value to which the New York City Department of Education is purportedly committed.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams decried the riot as “vile” in a social media post Saturday night.
“The vile show of antisemitism at Hillcrest High School was motivated by ignorance-fueled hatred, plain and simple, and it will not be tolerated in any of our schools, let alone anywhere else in our city. We are better than this,” he wrote.
The Department of Education condemned the incident in a statement.
“We are aware of the completely unacceptable incident that occurred at Hillcrest High School last week, and our safety team is actively collaborating with the superintendent and principal to fully investigate the matter and protect the safety of both students and staff,” a spokesperson said. “No form of hate, whether it be antisemitism, Islamophobia, or other form of bigotry will be tolerated in our schools.”
Gennaro stressed the involvement of the counterterrorism task force.
“Whether it was one student or multiple students who did or said something, whatever the trigger was, something happened. And I know from my many years on the City Council that the counterterrorism task force is not engaged unless they believe it is potentially a serious situation,” Gennaro told the Post.
The teacher says she has been “shaken to my core.”
“I have been a teacher for 23 years in the New York City public school system, for the last seven at Hillcrest High School. I have worked hard to be supportive of our entire student body and an advocate for our community, and was shaken to my core by the calls to violence against me that occurred online and outside my classroom last week,” she said, in a statement given to the Post.
“No one should ever feel unsafe at school — students and teachers alike.”
After the incident had died down, NYPD officers escorted the teacher to safety.
But students say that the teacher is not out of harm’s way — she has been “doxxed,” a term referring to the act of publicizing a targeted individual’s personal information, including home addresses and phone numbers of the person and their family.
“They found where she lives — her address, her phone number, her family and everything — her personal information,” a senior student told the Post.
The day after the protest, NYPD were called to the Hillcrest school again, and arrested an 18-year-old student for making antisemitic threats on a group chat.
Schools Chancellor David Banks condemned the incidents and said that antisemitism and Islamophobia will not be tolerated in NYC schools.
Banks said that he met with students and spoke with them about how they feel after seeing anti-Israel propaganda on social media.
At the press conference, Banks said that it is “unacceptable that the teacher would be targeted because of her Jewish heritage,” and that he is “offended” when people accuse him of covering up antisemitism.
He then spoke about the murder of a Palestinian child in Illinois at the hands of a non-Jewish man.
At a closed-door meeting on Monday, Banks spoke to teachers at an assembly at Hillcrest organized to give teachers a space to air their concerns.

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