The recent incidents of violence and antisemitism at Hillcrest High School in Queens demand immediate and steadfast attention. The tepid public statements from NYC Schools Chancellor Banks are simply not enough. New Yorkers deserve swift, significant action to remedy this situation to ensure these reprehensible acts are never repeated.
There is no place for hatred or division in our public schools; yet we have seen rallies supporting terrorism, arrests of publicity-seeking lawmakers, professors praising violence, and threats against Jewish teachers and students, signaling the infection of radical beliefs that must be stopped from spreading into our school system.
As leaders and role models, all officials have a duty to instill higher values in students and safeguard communities - especially in times of crisis. The events in Queens last week were wholly unacceptable and threaten to poison other schools if left unaddressed. Tolerance of hatred and empty retorts will no longer suffice. We demand an end to indoctrination and an immediate return to safe, apolitical learning environments across the city school system.
We await transparent results and seek true reforms arising from the investigation into Hillcrest High School. New York schools must remain secure learning environments for all students. This can start, for example, with the city reversing their shortsighted decision to cancel new academy classes of NYPD School Safety Agents despite a citywide shortage of more than 1,100 agents.
The time for mere dialogue is over. Real action against those responsible for last week’s incidents and bold reforms to eliminate hatred and ensure student security are required. The city’s failure to do so may warrant a revocation of Mayoral Control and appointment of a state monitor to achieve substantial improvements to keep our children, faculty, and staff safe in their schools.