As the Israel-Hamas war wages on, some parents of Muslim students and those of Palestinian descent say their children have become targets of harassment and bullying.
At this week’s Los Angeles Unified School District board meeting, the parents referred to the district’s initial statement condemning the Hamas terror attack on Israel, but they say it should have also condemned Islamophobia.
“Our children are scared to speak out on any pro-Palestinian stances at their school, as LAUSD made clear its stance when Superintendent Carvalho made his one-sided political statement to all families that LAUSD stands with Israel,” one parent said.
One parent said their child has been returning home with anxiety due to multiple incidents at his school.
The LAUSD confirmed there has been a “small uptick” in harassment claims among both Muslim and Jewish students. School board President Jackie Goldberg called on the district to release a new statement — one condemning hatred on all sides.
“I think that needs to go out immediately because people are not hearing that message from us. And it should come from the superintendent, in my opinion, and it should go out ASAP,” Goldberg said.
Carvalho did release a statement Tuesday, saying, “Whether it be a shared background, ancestry, culture, identity, or religion – many of our students are deeply affected by the devastation they see unfolding around them, and it is our responsibility to provide the guidance and support they need to continue to find peace and stability during difficult times.”
Speaking to students Wednesday in East LA, the superintendent said students should feel safe in school to speak their mind and stressed that the response to hatred and violence cannot be more hatred and violence.
“The death, the killing on any side, whether we’re talking about the injury to the Armenian community as a result of what’s taken place, the terrible terrorist attack perpetrated in Israel or now the abuses and the maiming of innocent civilians in Gaza, is unacceptable,” he said.
Asked by NBC4 whether the new statement came too late, Carvalho disagreed, saying the initial statement was intended to condemn the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel. He also said the district has since released multiple statements emphasizing that hatred is not allowed.
Carvalho added that counseling and mental health services are being made available to any students who feels they are being bullied or harassed.
Source: NBC Los Angeles