Sherman R. Frederick
School officials in Marin County held a Zoom meeting last week as a follow-up to anti-semitic Instragram accounts that targeted Jewish students at Redwood High School.
The accounts said students at Redwood were “organized in anti-semitism” and were compiling a list of “jews in the District.” The hate speech sparked alarm in the school district and shocked the wider community.
Although it has been reported that the school district has suspicions about who is behind the hate messages, no names were revealed at last week’s meeting. Superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District Tara Taupier said “many students have been interviewed” and the district has worked with IT experts and Instagram to find the culprit.
Responding to a question about what is being done to find out who is behind the postings, she said: “Keeping a close eye on students considered suspects” can be challenging.
She added that if the District can prove who was behind the hate speech, the students can be expelled under current rules.
District Attorney Lori Frugoli, who also participated in the Zoom meeting, said “the case is still active. I can’t discuss it more.”
But she warned that because of privacy laws surrounding juvenile suspects, the public may never know what happened if and when there is an arrest.
“That may not be a satisfying answer, but it’s where we’re at,” she said.
A couple hundred people tuned in to the Zoom meeting live. Much of the meeting delved into the problem of anti-semitic behavior and hate speech and best practices for dealing with it. More meetings are scheduled to address the situation and keep the public informed.
Seth Brysk of the Anti-Defamation League told the group that Jews are the most targeted group for hate crimes in California and the United States. When communities such as Marin are confronted with hate, you do three things:
“Speak up, show strength and share facts.”
He added: “Hopefully tonight will be the first of many opportunities to share facts.”
“It’s very important to disrupt hate at its earliest moments,” he told the group. “No one is born hating. We learn it.”
(Reach Marinscope’s Sherm Frederick at email@example.com.)