by Emily Moss
Responding to anti-Semitic chants at Friday’s basketball game, subsequent graffiti earlier this week, and racist comments posted on Facebook prior to Black Culture Day, interim principal Mark Aronson announced Wednesday a decision to establish a student-faculty advisory board focused on improving “cultural competency” at North.
The establishment of the advisory board immediately follows three instances of anti-Semitic graffiti on school property: this past Monday, swastikas were found in two bathrooms—one accompanied by the words, “CM was right,” alluding to the anti-Semitic chants on the part of Catholic Memorial High School students at Friday’s game—and a third swastika was found in a bathroom on Tuesday, according to Aronson. The Newton Police Department is currently investigating the situation.
Aronson said he fears the chants at the basketball game have played a role in inciting the subsequent acts of anti-Semitism, in part because the chants received significant public attention. “It’s always a challenge to see—is this person looking for attention, or are they virulently anti-Semitic?” said Aronson. Regardless, such actions are unacceptable, said Aronson.
Moving forward, Aronson hopes to foster an “ongoing focus” on tolerance, in part by creating the student-faculty advisory board, which will be open to all who wish to participate in its meetings.
He noted that in addition to addressing the immediate issue at hand, it is essential that the school community “create some sustainability in schools around cultural competency.”
“It shouldn’t depend on the teacher or the school,” he added, “it should really be a community-based idea.”