The Atlanta Initiative Against AntiSemitism (AIAAS) will present a petition at Thursday’s meeting of the Cobb County Board of Education calling for the board to condemn antisemitism after antisemitic graffiti was drawn at Pope and Lassiter high schools shortly before Yom Kippur.
The petition can be found at: https://chng.it/2XyMFZVZwt
The AIAAS also called, in a press release, for “the reinstatement of anti-hate educational programming to help prevent future acts of hate.”
“Over the past five years, AIAAS has had a great working relationship with many schools in metro Atlanta,” Lauren Menis, AIAAS Co-Founder wrote to the Courier in an email.
“We’ve hosted successful events attended by teachers, staff and administrators, including representatives from Cobb County, which fostered discussion on how to confront and stop antisemitism and other forms of hate in our schools,” she wrote. “We expect Cobb County’s School Board to show the same commitment to acknowledging and taking action against acts of antisemtism and all forms of hate in their schools.”
“Their support is critical in order for school administrators and teachers to effectively respond to acts of hate, including antisemitism,” wrote Menis.
The introduction to the organization’s online petition states:
We are asking the Cobb County School Board and its associated schools to recognize and condemn all forms of antisemitism that occur on campus and to allow school principals the authority to condemn these acts and offer programming to proactively educate the student body and community about antisemitism and to prevent further occurrences.
In the past two weeks, two Cobb County Schools, Pope and Lassiter, have had occurrences of antisemitism. The Cobb County School Board has not condemned these acts of antisemitism or enabled groups like the Anti Defamation League (ADL) to provide educational, anti-hate programming in the schools.
AIAAS reported in their press release that 24 hours after posting the petition, there were more than 1,600 signatories (at last look before this article was published that number had risen to more than 2,000).
AIAAS wrote in their press release:
Working in collaboration with several area synagogues, the Anti Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Jewish Student Union (JSU), AIAAS will share the petition at the Cobb County School Board meeting on Thursday, 9/23 at 7:00pm at 514 Glover Street, Marietta, where Jewish community leaders, members from Cobb County and the greater Atlanta synagogues and community residents plan to gather.
“In refusing to call out the hate by name, as antisemitism, the Cobb County School Board is sending a clear message that these acts of hate are not significant,” said Menis. “This is a teachable moment, and we need to seize it. By not naming it and not allowing anti-hate educational programming to address this in their schools, the schools have denied a valuable opportunity to help students learn from these events. Downplaying hate is unacceptable. We will hold Cobb County’s school board accountable. Their silence is unacceptable.” Menis stated.
Swastikas and messages praising Adolf Hitler were found at Lassiter and Pope high schools within a week and during the Jewish High Holidays, the most religious time of year for Jewish people.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Cobb County School District wrote, “”Due to ongoing concerns with accuracy in reporting, the Cobb County School District will not provide response to the Cobb County Courier’s request for comment.”