West Orange school officials put stop to pro-Palestine rally as bias incidents rise around the state

A small group of students had wanted to hold a pro-Palestine demonstration during school hours, according to a social media post.

Chris Keating

Oct 30, 2023, 9:33 PM

Updated 226 days ago

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The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General says there’s been a rise in antisemitic and anti-Islamic hate speech in New Jersey’s schools.
The West Orange School District had to deal with this issue within the last few days.
A small group of students had wanted to hold a pro-Palestine demonstration during school hours. But administrators got involved and had those students call it off while threatening disciplinary action if students cut class.
When the principal and superintendent got wind of the plan, they put an end to it and put out a message to the entire community.
“To be clear, our school is not sponsoring, supporting or condoning the demonstration that students have planned,” they wrote in a statement.
Administrators also told students, “They have been cautioned that inappropriate speeches or statements, up to and including hate speech, could also lead to additional disciplinary action.”
News 12 spoke with one student at West Orange High School who said he saw the online post on Instagram promoting the demonstration before it was taken down.
“It didn’t have that many followers, but the post seemed very pro-Hamas,” Manuel Meono said. “Everybody is pro-people, the majority of the school is for the people, so they don’t support a government.”
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin has noted that incidents have been on the rise in K-12.
Platkin has sent out a stern reminder to school districts that they have a duty to report any harassment or bullying that takes place in schools saying, “The rise in bias in our schools threatens the safe educational environment to which all our students are entitled.”
Platkin also sent schools instructions on how to avoid such conflicts by telling schools to create anti-bias policies and administer campus climate surveys when appropriate.


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