At the end of my second class, my 8th graders were asking about other months designated for heritage/history of certain peoples. I mentioned that May is both Asian American heritage month and Jewish American Heritage Month. One of my students responded by saying “fuck the jews”. My students KNOW that I’m jewish, I’ve always been open to them asking me questions about jewish culture. I was a little shocked, but one of my students immediately stood up and said “You can’t say that! People used to kill jews for real! They still do!”. The student that defended me is one of the best friends of the student who made that comment, and for those of you who don’t have an 8th grader in your life, standing up to your best friend for saying something shitty is HUGE. Another student joined in after that and said “I bet you thought that was cute, you should be embarrassed. That’s just sad”.
I wrote the girl up, but I made admin call home. I don’t think I would’ve been able to keep my cool if the parent tried to argue with me about the referral. I know the student is getting a consequence, so I’m just hoping it’s an actual punishment and more than 2 days of detention.
I took a survey in my other classes and around 16% of my students know what the Holocaust is, but only 6% have ever heard of antisemitism. So I won’t be teaching science tomorrow. Tomorrow, they’ll be learning about how hate progresses and to ignore it is to be part of it.