Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller released this through her email newsletter today
Last Tuesday evening the School Committee held a public hearing as a result of a formal petition alleging anti-Semitism in the Newton Public School history curriculum.
It was a powerful meeting, and I’ve been reflecting on what I heard from students, teachers and members of our community.
Here are my thoughts:
At the hearing, many students, parents, teachers and other community members overwhelmingly voiced strong support, admiration, and respect for the history teachers in the Newton Public Schools (NPS). They spoke about how the NPS teachers expose students to diverse opinions, help them separate fact from opinion, and discern different points of view. Other speakers raised concerns about bias in our curriculum.
I agree with the concerns that were raised that anti-Semitism, as well as bigotry, hate and intolerance against Jewish, Muslim, immigrant, black and brown, and LGBTQ people has become more pronounced in the past few years. However, I categorically reject the allegation that Newton Public Schools’ curriculum is anti-Semitic or that there is an anti-Semitic bias inherent in our schools.
I support our Newton Public Schools teachers. I am particularly disturbed by the targeting of individual teachers and am deeply concerned about the effect these attacks on individual teachers have on the way class discussions are lead and emails are written.
Moving forward, I will continue to support our educators to combat bias in all its forms. All members of our community – students, faculty, parents – should feel safe, welcome and included in our schools and beyond. As Mayor, I welcome all input and involvement from parents, families and residents. I can be reached at [email protected].