What you should know
- Alarming incidents by students at a Queens high school, including an alleged attack on a security officer and a riot that forced a teacher to run and hide because she attended a pro-Israel event, were at the center of a demonstration organized by two dozen concerned people.
- New York City Police said several people were facing charges after what happened at Hillcrest High School over a week in early November, according to police and community officials.
- On November 20, students rioted in the hallways of Briarwood School after some learned that a teacher was attending a pro-Israel rally. Video of the chaos that followed went viral, as the teacher was forced to run and hide in a classroom closet for her safety after being chased by students.
NEW YORK — Alarming incidents by students at a Queens high school, including an alleged attack on a security officer and a riot that forced a teacher to run and hide because she attended a pro-Israel event, were at the center of a rally organized by two dozen concerned people including parents, community members and New York City elected officials demanding change.
On November 20, students rioted in the hallways of Briarwood School after some learned that a teacher was attending a pro-Israel rally. Video of the chaos that followed went viral, as the teacher was forced to run and hide in a classroom closet for her safety after being chased by students.
In another incident at the same school a week earlier, students attacked a uniformed school security officer, police said. The students responsible for the attack were arrested and charged, the NYPD shared on social media on X, formerly known as Twitter, although their names were not immediately released and it was not known what charges they face.
It was also not immediately clear whether the incidents were related, authorities said. Elected officials spoke about what happened at the school and how the administration handled the situation.
“The school administration tried to cover up this the same way they tried to cover up the riot. It is clear that the Hillcrest administration is fully compromised and is unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to provide a safe environment for its students or its teachers “said Queens City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, who called for the school to be closed so that a “full and thorough investigation” can be conducted.
“Furthermore, they seem more than willing to cover up crimes committed by their students in the service of a political narrative, and to prevent these criminal students from facing consequences. If my office had not been informed, this could have been covered up. “And who knows what else are they hiding right now,” Paladino said in a post on X. “The students who committed these acts should be arrested immediately and face appropriate criminal charges. This cannot continue in our schools. Order and discipline must be restored.”
City Councilman Eric Dinowitz echoed those complaints, saying that while the school administration is “determining what’s the best press release to give or how to handle the media, we’re afraid.” In a social media post, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the video of the riot a “vile display of anti-Semitism…motivated by hatred fueled by ignorance.”
“The real question is: What is going to happen from now on? What is going to happen in the schools? Are these students going to be expelled, are they going to be punished?” asked Assemblyman David Weprin. “What is the plan that the Department of Education is going to have to prevent this from happening again? We need to know it and we need to know it now.”
The school said it was conducting a full investigation and resources were being deployed to educate students about why what happened was unacceptable. In a statement from United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, the union said they have been working with the teacher involved, as well as school security, the city Department of Education and police since the riot on 20 November.
“The union will continue to send staff to the building and work with administration, DOE security personnel [Departamento de Educación]school security and the NYPD to restore and maintain a safe environment for teachers, students and staff,” Mulgrew said.
New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks, a Hillcrest alum, said Monday that much of the dialogue at his former school is “overblown,” saying the vast majority of the 2,500 students who attend are not involved. in any type of hate speech or violence.
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