Anti-Semitic and Similar Hate Crime Incidents Increase

Sarah D'Souza and Amy Tran

Following the 2016 presidential election, states nationwide have been experiencing anti-Semitic incidents and protests, and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is experiencing these incidents within schools and local communities.

One of the first incidents were occurred at Sligo Creek Elementary School Nov. 7, where third graders discovered racist graffiti in the school bathroom. The same week, Swastikas were drawn in the boys’ bathroom at Westland MS in Bethesda Nov. 11.. A “Black Lives Matter” sign was vandalized at Christ Congregation Church on the night of Election Day in Silver Spring Md..

At the Episcopal Church of Our Savior on Powder Mill Road, a sign advertising the church’s Hispanic service and a wall in the church’s memorial garden, which also serves as a cemetery, was vandalized Nov. 12 on the back, with the message, “Trump Nation Whites Only.”

“We are very saddened by this incident. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. Once the culprit(s) are identified, consequences will be administered in accordance to the MCPS Code of Conduct,” Westland MS principal Alison Serino said in a letter sent home to parents and guardians.

According to the Washington Post, MCPS is now leading the state of Maryland with the highest number of recorded hate-crimes. The numbers have risen from 25 in 1980 to 2015, to approximately 150 in this year alone.

“It is sad that the generation that is suppose to be promoting acceptance is now participating in stereotypical actions,” junior Sarah Wagner said.

Although there were no arrests during the countywide protests, a student supporting President-elect Trump was attacked during the Richard Montgomery protest Nov. 16, in which several Rockville students also participated. This protest was the third day in a row of students protesting in the metropolitan area against President-elect Trump.

“MCPS is a diverse community that is built on a foundation of respect for all … Our differences in backgrounds, races, faiths, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, political preferences and gender identities are an opportunity to celebrate and learn, not discriminate and denigrate,” Superintendent Jack R. Smith said on the MCPS website.

Montgomery County officials said although students would be marked unexcused absences, students can still get a note from their parents approving the absence. Students engaged in vandalism activity will be disciplined accordingly.

“Let me be perfectly cleara��MCPS respects the right to free speech that is codified in the Student Code of Conducta��but does not and will not tolerate hate-based speech or behavior in our school communities,” Smith said.