U.S. Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and Katie Britt (R-Montgomery) recently joined a group of Senate colleagues in imploring the Biden administration to address "growing antisemitism" toward Jewish children in K-12 schools across the country.
Since the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, members of Congress have been in near lockstep in showing their support for Israel. Along with the support for Israel, Congress members have also expressed growing concern for an increase in antisemitism in the United States.
In response, a large number of senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, imploring him to address the growing number of perceived antisemitic events in K-12 schools nationwide.
"We are deeply concerned that the Department of Education (Department) is not ensuring American K-12 schools are fostering a safe learning environment for all students following the terrorist organization Hamas' violent attack on civilians, including Americans and Israeli Citizens," the senators wrote. "We write to urgently inquire what your Department is doing to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to ensure students are not subjected to discrimination based on race, color, or national origin."
The senators pointed to several events nationwide in which students were targeted for their ethnicity or where antisemitic or anti-Israel sentiments were expressed. Namely, an event in Massachusetts where the superintendent of Revere Public Schools sent an email to school staff promoting resources that claimed, "Israeli terrorism has been significantly worse than that of the Palestinians."
They also pointed to an event in New York City where a middle school teacher and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) school representative emailed teachers' union members deriding the UFT's official statement denouncing the October 7 attack.
"As you are aware, any harassment or the creation of a hostile environment for students is unacceptable and invokes the responsibility of the Department to uphold Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," the letter continues. "Title VI states, 'No person in the United States shall, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'"
The senators requested Cardona host a briefing in the letter to address concerns and questions.
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