Oct 18, 2021 - News

Critics bash Cobb resolution on anti-Semitism, racism

Illustration of standardized test filled out as ≠ with an F grade.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A month after swastikas were found drawn on bathroom walls at two of its high schools, the Cobb County Board of Education approved a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and racism.

Flashback: Bathrooms at Pope and Lassiter high schools were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti in September, an act the school district said stemmed from a social media prank, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The other side: The approval of the resolution was not unanimous. Two of the board's Black Democratic members, Jaha Howard and Leroy "Tre" Hutchins, voted against it because they felt the topic of anti-Semitism deserved its own resolution.

  • The four white male Republican members of the board approved the resolution without any discussion.

Howard said the original plan was for the board to consider a resolution denouncing anti-Semitism. Adding racism to the resolution "conjures up a lot of hard work and discussion we had back in 2020," he said.

  • The school board could not come to a consensus over language to include in a resolution denouncing racism.

"Our Jewish and minority communities deserve thoroughness, thoughtfulness and a comprehensive and unanimous resolution," he said.

Context: Acts of racism and anti-Semitism been been reported for years in the Cobb County School District, which led community members to criticize the system and board members for not addressing the incidents.

  • In October 2017, a Cobb student was captured on Snapchat giving the Nazi salute to a Donald Trump banner.
  • Another student in March 2017 used Snapchat to make racist comments about Black people.
  • In 2019, a group named Stronger Together, made up of parents, students and community members, formed following acts of racism and bias experienced by students of color.
  • In 2020, a Black Cobb student said a white student played a whip-cracking sound on his phone as she walked in the hallway.

Hershel Greenblat, a Holocaust survivor whose entire extended family was murdered by the Nazis, called on the district to reinstate the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place For Hate curriculum "so that students will be educated and acts like this will never happen again."

  • That program was eliminated from the district when board members in June passed a resolution banning the teaching of critical race theory.

The Southeast Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League said on Twitter that the resolution was a good start, but is an empty gesture "unless followed by specific actions."


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