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NYC high school students probed, face suspensions after storming halls, targeting pro-Israel teacher

Cayla Bamberger, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

An investigation is underway at Hillcrest High School, where an undetermined number of students have been suspended after storming the hallways to target a Jewish teacher who had attended a pro-Israel rally, education officials announced Monday.

The episode was blasted by Schools Chancellor David Banks at a later afternoon press conference as “completely unacceptable.” Mayor Eric Adams said the event was motivated by“ignorance-fueled hatred.”

An estimated 400 teens in Queens flooded the Hillcrest corridors Nov. 20 to protest the staffer, who shared a photo of herself online at a demonstration off school premises, according to viral social media videos. The disturbance forced a lockdown, while the teacher was moved to another floor of the building to meet with police.

“A teacher at Hillcrest High School was targeted based on her support for Israel,” Banks told reporters at the school, “expressed in a permissible way outside of school hours, and her Jewish identity.

“And that is completely unacceptable that she would be targeted for that, and I said that to the students as well as the staff here today.”

The original videos of the protest appeared to have been deleted by Monday morning, though recordings were reviewed by the Daily News.

 

“When a protest brakes [sic] out because a teacher stands with Israel,” read one of the since-removed videos on TikTok, as students charged through the hallways, jumping up and down, and showed a water fountain torn from the wall.

“POV: your school had 1 lockdown multiple fights and riots js bc of a teacher that chose to wake up one day and choose … Zionism and occupation,” read another clip on the platform.

The caption included a threat: “YO IF HER A** COME BACK IN THAT BUILDING,” followed by a skull death symbol and praying hands emojis.

“Hillcrest high school had a riot because a Health teacher was supporting Israel,” read another, depicting at least two students holding Palestinian flags.

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