Officials Ignore Biases Against Jewish Students In Fairfax County Public Schools

The following was written by Stephanie Lundquist-Arora, contributor for the Washington Examiner, and first published here.

Members of the Fairfax County School Board only seem to be concerned with students’ and teachers’ “inherent biases” when they are against pre-approved groups. It seems that Jewish students are not among them.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents are increasing across the country. From 2022 to 2023, ADL reports a 135% increase in such incidents at K-12 schools, totaling 1,162 incidents nationwide. There were 23 reported antisemitic incidents in Fairfax County in 2023.

Fairfax County’s children have confirmed they are experiencing antisemitism at their public schools. Jewish students at Woodson High School, for example, reported to their parents after the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre that other students who are anti-Israel regularly say to them, “Why don’t you just go and die?”

A few miles down the road, during a meeting of the Muslim Students Association at Langley High School in November 2023, a student drew a flag with swastikas and the message “Free Palestine!” at its center. The student who drew the flag rightfully was suspended. But to almost everyone’s surprise, the student who alerted the community about the incident on social media was also suspended. The whistleblower’s suspension led many residents to speculate that the school district’s administrators were using the incident as a deterrent to prevent other students from speaking out against antisemitism.

In another incident last month, a Holocaust survivor came to speak to seventh-grade students at Cooper Middle School. In a move that is uncharacteristic for Fairfax County Public Schools, an administrator sent an email to parents alerting them that the lecture was not mandatory and offering them the ability to opt their children out of the Holocaust history lesson.

Given Fairfax County School Board members’ obsession with biases and the recent passing of its bias incident reporting system, you might think they would be more attentive to reported biases against Jewish children in public schools. But you would be wrong.

The district’s school board passed the bias incident reporting system to make sure that everyone is on the same page with the correct biases. There are certain social groups — I think Jews are among these — that many of our district administrators and most school board members believe we can and should harbor biases against.

I tested this hypothesis when I reported to a Fairfax County high school’s administration that a teacher held biases against white male students following grading irregularities.

After no investigation, I received word from a school administrator that despite the evidence provided, my claims were untrue. They did not explore the possibility that the teacher might have biases against white male students because they did not care.

Imagine if the student in question belonged to a different social group. There certainly would have been a more thorough investigation.

When the school emailed me their conclusions, I reached out to the school board to find out how to lodge a report of biases at the district level within their new, unconstitutional bias incident reporting system, which arguably violates the First Amendment.

On Jan. 25, Superintendent Michelle Reid responded, “There are currently a variety of ways in which to report bias concerns should that become necessary. I will check in with staff on the specifics of these reporting modalities and whether training has been developed or shared/implemented.”

I have not heard back from her yet.

Former school board member Abrar Omeish introduced the bias incident reporting system for the board’s consideration. It’s very unlikely that she was concerned about Jewish students when she did. Omeish is known for opposing a moment of silence for victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, for her hostile and borderline antisemitic social media posts, and for campaigning to influence the way history is taught to students in Fairfax County Public Schools. People such as Omeish run for office to ensure that our children’s biases are the same as theirs — not to protect those whom they explicitly oppose.

Without a doubt, we should stand in solidarity to ensure the safety of Jewish children in Fairfax County’s Public Schools. As history has demonstrated again and again, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora is a contributor for the Washington Examiner, a mother in Fairfax County, Virginia, an author, and the Fairfax chapter leader of the Independent Women’s Network.

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