WOODMERE (VINnews) — A video posted to Twitter by Dov Hikind on Wednesday sparked outrage. The video was alleged to show a teacher responding to a student who said a building was “purchased by the United Hebrew Community of NY” by muttering “God damned Jews.”
The video prompted a large outcry, including calls for the teacher to be fired.
In response to the incident, a statement was released on Thursday on the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools facebook page, signed by HWPS Board of Education President Mitchell A. Greebel and Superintendent Ralph Marino, Jr., Ed.D.
The statement clarifies that the adult who made the statement was not a Hewlett-Woodmere teacher, but rather a judge in a competition from the First Lego League and was not a teacher at all.
In addition, the First Lego League stated that the individual would be banned from all their future events.
The full statement is as follows:
Dear Members of the Hewlett-Woodmere Community,
As you may know, this past weekend, Woodmere Middle School students participated in the First Lego League Competition at Mineola High School.
During the competition, a judge was heard making an anti-Semitic comment while the Woodmere Middle School students were presenting. This comment was also captured on video by a parent attending the event. It is extremely unfortunate that our students, who worked so hard to prepare, were interrupted by such a reprehensible message of hate.
Immediately upon hearing of the comment on Monday morning, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools’ administrators reached out to the event organizers to initiate an investigation. Since then, we have been cooperating with them to ascertain exactly what happened and identify the adults involved.
Yesterday, the video began appearing on social media and news outlets. Many of these posts erroneously report that the judge in question is a Hewlett-Woodmere employee. This is not the case. Neither adult who appears in the video is an employee of our District.
Representatives from the First Lego League have informed us that the judge who made the inappropriate comment is not a teacher and is banned from participation in any of their future events. The individual has taken responsibility for her actions and plans to apologize to the students and parents involved.
We have also been informed that the other adult in the video was shocked by the statement and is receiving counseling by the organization on how to respond to statements of hate in the future.
Please know that anti-Semitic comments are not tolerated by anyone in the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools community, and run counter to the values we seek to instill in all of our students.
This appalling event provided us another opportunity to teach our students the importance of speaking up in the face of adversity and intolerance. We are committed to reinforcing this message.
Mitchell A. Greebel
HWPS Board of Education
Ralph Marino, Jr., Ed.D.