As many of you know, over the past several years, the Newton Public School (NPS) system has received criticism for occasionally being an unsafe space for Israeli and pro-Israel students. Since the summer, IAC Boston has become more involved in trying to find a resolution to these issues after receiving complaints of anti-Israel/anti-Semitic incidents directed towards children in the IAC community. Recently, representatives of IAC Boston had a productive meeting with representatives of the NPS administration. NPS is committed to ensuring that all students feel welcome, included and safe in school.
IAC Boston and NPS have agreed to work together towards the following:
- Creating a safe space for the Israeli-American students in NPS.
- Decreasing tension in the discourse among all community members and the administration.
- Promoting open dialogue among parents, students and faculty members.
NPS has stated that the 10th grade Middle East history unit (3-4 classes) is currently being updated and will be done in consultation with Brandeis University and the Public Schools of Brookline.
The following items were also agreed upon:
- NPS will initiate one meeting at Newton North High School and one at Newton South High School among the relevant faculty (Principals and Chairs of the guidance and history departments) and parents in order to discuss the atmosphere toward Israel and Israeli students in their schools. Dates for these meetings will be sent out soon.
- IAC Boston expressed concern about the student-run Middle East Day. NPS indicated that there will be significant adult oversight if the event takes place this year.
- NPS recently updated their protocol for reporting discriminatory acts and hateful language. The document is currently being put in a format that will be useful for families. It will be distributed to parents after Thanksgiving.
- Parents and students are encouraged to report any anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israeli incident – or any discomfort as a result of being Jewish or Israeli - to a trusted adult in their school. If for some reason you or your child do not feel comfortable approaching a faculty member, please contact IAC Boston at [email protected] or at 617-795-3400.
David Fleishman, Superintendent
Ruth Goldman, Chair, Newton School Committee
Lital Carmel, Regional Director
David Shimoni, Co-Chair