Anti-Semitism in Schools on the Rise

Oct 10, 2018

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council led a discussion on the rise of anti-Semitic acts in schools Wednesday.  Earlier this month, swastikas were drawn in a boy’s bathroom at Pike High School. It was one of many conversations at the JCRC’s symposium on anti-Semitism.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Allison Rosenfeld says their data shows a 94 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools.

"The incident rate has gone up," Rosenfeld says. "We feel that people who used to maybe be willing to be a hater but hide – let's say behind some other name or behind a computer screen – are actually now more willing to be out there." 

Rosenfeld says swastika graffiti and paraphernalia is not an outlier but the new normal. At the symposium, IUPUI Education professor Jeremy Price hosted a session on being Jewish in school.

"One of the things that it really takes is going to the place where it becomes uncomfortable," Price says. "Schools, often they embrace diversity, but what they need to do is allow for this multitude of voices to be heard."

Indiana does not have hate crime legislation. But Republican Governor Eric Holcomb called for lawmakers to act after an anti-Semitic incident at a Carmel synagogue this summer.