New York City parents are outraged after a public school held a moment of silence for the 62 people killed in Gaza last week. On Tuesday, a public address announcement urging students to pause to honor those who died in the clash at the Israeli border interrupted classes at Beacon High School near Times Square. The school’s inexplicable political statement, which was interpreted to have an anti-Jewish bent, left parents and students scratching their heads.
“I am extremely upset because I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives,” one father, who is Jewish, told the New York Post.
Last Monday, some 62 people were killed after protests against the opening of the new United States embassy in Jerusalem turned violent. Hamas, which is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, later admitted 50 of the 62 who died were members of the militant Islamic group and the rest were “from the people.”
“I just don’t think any school should be promoting a moment of silence for terrorists. What if it was Islamic terrorists in ISIS?” said the mother of a Jewish student. “No school would be having that over the loudspeaker.”
Aside from a tribute for the victims of the Parkland High School shooting in March, students told the Post that moments of silence are a rare occurrence at the school. And while many pupils seemed open to engaging in a dialogue about current events, the lack of context around the tribute caused confusion and discomfort.
“As a Jewish student, I could see a lot of my Jewish friends get very weird when the moment of silence started,” Sophie Steinberg, a junior from Brooklyn, told the Post. “They don’t know how to feel. They don’t know how to fit into all of this.”