The Bedford Massachusetts school district is trying to address an alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents in recent months. The incidents include a game called “Jail the Jews” which has become popular at two elementary schools, the appearance of swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti painted on a high school and elementary school, and disturbing statements by some children.
According to the Boston Globe, the superintendent of the district, Jon Sill, has announced a community forum for Thursday evening at a local middle school’s auditorium intended to address the anti-Semitic trends.
In addition to the game played by students at one of the elementary schools, a child told her parents that a classmate told her they were going to destroy her country because she is Jewish, Sills said. In another instance, a Jewish child was told by a peer that she could not have a cracker because Jews didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.
Also recently, students discussing the difference between Christmas and Hanukkah made a comment that Jews were responsible for killing Jesus, Sills said.
On Nov. 8, a swastika was etched on a playground slide at the Lane School with graffiti that said, “Jews Kill Them All,’’ Jones said. Two weeks later, swastikas were found in a boys bathroom at Bedford High School, he said.
Robert Trestan, the New England director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the school district has taken the incidents seriously from the start:
“The school has been on top of it from the start, and the superintendent has taken it very seriously and the community has taken it very seriously,’’ Trestan said. “One of the important antidotes to this is a community response, and these pieces are starting to be put in place.”
Trestan expressed concern about the unusual number of anti-Semitic incidents in the area, stressing that the young age of many of those involved was particularly “disturbing.”