DOE Official Commits to Tackling 'Anti-Jewish Culture' After Teacher's Ordeal in Israel

DOE Official Commits to Tackling 'Anti-Jewish Culture' After Teacher's Ordeal in Israel

  • 28.10.2023 22:45

"DOE Official Commits to Address 'Anti-Jewish Culture' Following Post Report on Teacher's Stranded Situation in Israel"

After The Post brought attention to the predicament of an early-childhood staffer stranded in Israel due to the war, she is set to return home, and a meeting with a top official from the city Department of Education (DOE) is on the agenda. Tova Plaut, the instructional coordinator for pre-K teachers, had raised concerns about what she referred to as the agency's "anti-Jewish culture."

First Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg expressed seriousness about addressing the perceived systemic antisemitism or anti-Jewish environment, stating that both the chancellor and mayor share this concern. Weisberg contacted Plaut after The Post's initial report on the DOE's refusal to grant her request for remote work from Israel. While the decision wasn't reversed, Weisberg informed Plaut that she wouldn't need to use sick or personal days due to the extraordinary circumstances.

Plaut and her 78-year-old mother were visiting family in Israel for Sukkot when the Israel-Gaza war erupted, leading to the cancellation of her return flight. During their conversation, Plaut emphasized the larger issue of an alleged anti-Jewish climate within the system and stressed the need for a sincere examination.

She revealed that no top officials from the Division of Early Childhood Education reached out to her after the Hamas terror attacks in Israel on October 7, raising concerns about a lack of communication and support. Plaut also shared her past struggle for a religious accommodation to observe the Jewish Sabbath when she joined the DOE, indicating a history of challenges.

The recent incident that intensified her concerns involved teachers at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women walking out of classes to participate in a pro-Palestine rally. Placards held by students at the rally displayed messages like "Please Keep the World Clean" above an illustration of the blue Star of David in a garbage can. Plaut's ordeal and observations highlight the broader issue of addressing perceived antisemitism within the educational system.

"This incident is a glaring illustration of the prevailing anti-Jewish culture within our schools," asserts Tova Plaut, the instructional coordinator for pre-K teachers, regarding the recent actions at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in Brooklyn. Plaut underscores the severity of the situation, emphasizing that a teacher took the lead in escorting students out of class and off school grounds, brandishing signs that openly called for the extermination of Jews.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Kiri Soares, the school's principal, has not responded to requests for comment. The Department of Education (DOE) has been tight-lipped as well, with a spokesperson declining to disclose whether any disciplinary measures were taken against teachers who participated in the hate-fueled rally, which involved an unauthorized absence from school grounds. The lack of transparency raises further concerns about the DOE's approach to addressing incidents that contribute to an alleged anti-Jewish climate within the educational system.

In conclusion, the troubling events at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in Brooklyn stand as a stark manifestation of the alleged anti-Jewish culture within schools. Tova Plaut's assertion, highlighting a teacher leading students in a rally calling for the extermination of Jews, emphasizes the gravity of the situation. The lack of response from the school's principal, Kiri Soares, and the Department of Education's reluctance to address whether disciplinary actions were taken against participating teachers compound the concerns. As this incident underscores the broader issue of combating antisemitism within the educational system, it prompts a crucial examination of the policies and responses needed to foster an inclusive and respectful learning environment for all students.