Additional details emerge about Sept. antisemitic incident

Sept. 23, 2023, 3:02 p.m. | By Sachin Parikh, Isabelle Yang | 10 months ago

Around eight students observed recording an antisemitic salute during lunch on the track in photo

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On Friday, Sept. 22 Blair Principal Renay Johnson sent a letter to Blair families detailing the occurrence of a group of students allegedly recording themselves making an antisemitic salute on campus during lunch. The report has since been confirmed by two witnesses.

According to a photograph obtained by Blair administration, the group of approximately eight unidentified students huddled in a circle by the track during lunch in September. The exact date of the incident is still unclear. Teachers were first notified directly by Blair administration on Monday, Sept. 25. Johnson hosted two optional staff meetings on Tuesday, Sept. 26 to discuss the incident. Teachers also led an innovation lesson on hate and bias incidents during 8th period on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

In the letter sent home, Johnson stated that the school has zero tolerance for such behavior as it goes against Blair's core values of respect, tolerance, and inclusion. The incident was reported to Montgomery County Police as a hate crime, and investigations are underway.

The students involved could face police charges for hate crimes and bias incidents as well as face disciplinary action. They may also be suspended for up to 10 days and recommended for expulsion.

Johnson states in an interview that any act of antisemitism is also an act of hate against all other groups. "Blair is inclusive like we accept everybody…  and so if someone's doing that against a group of students who they believe they can oppress, .. .it's also against me, it's also against all of us. So we want to make sure we don't have that kind of behavior in our school, and we want to deal with it appropriately," Johnson says.

In the letter, Johnson assured the Blair community that she is committed to addressing and preventing future hate-related acts. "We understand that this incident may be deeply concerning to you, as it is to us. We want to assure you that we are committed to addressing this matter and using it as an opportunity for education and growth," she said.

Last updated: Oct. 5, 2023, 8:21 p.m.

Sachin Parikh. Hello! My name is Sachin and I'm a senior in the CAP program. I'm currently co-EiC along with Isabelle Yang, and have previously held staff writer and sports editor roles over my three years on the publication. When I'm not working on SCO, I enjoy … More »

Isabelle Yang. Hi! I'm Isabelle (she/her). Outside of SCO, I love to listen to music, hike and solve puzzles. More »

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