DPHS responds to antisemitism on campus


Ava Canfield

Posters just like this one, with the SBUSD Respectful Treatment of All Persons resolution will be posted in every classroom in the district.

Over the past few months, there has been an increase in antisemitic acts both on campus and in our community. Last month, a swastika was found drawn on a pole in the DP athletic stadium. The image was reported by a parent who was attending a soccer game, and was removed immediately by the custodial team. On Wednesday, February 3rd, Principal Woodard released a statement addressing the graffiti that was found, stating, “We are writing to the entire DPHS community to condemn in the strongest possible terms this hateful act.”

In the statement, Woodard also mentioned several other acts of antisemitism that had occurred that month in the community. In Isla Vista, antisemitic flyers were found inside of plastic bags that were left on the road and antisemitic messages were written on the chalkboard of an Israeli Politics class.

On Thursday, February 4th, Principal Woodard went to speak with Jewish Student Union to address the recent activity.

“It’s a bummer that our school is in the spotlight for something like this, but it helps us take the lead in making sure that we do make a stand that we have zero tolerance for these acts, and both our Jewish student community but also all of us share a role in making sure that this a school where everybody feels welcome and nobody is targeted,” Woodard said.

At the meeting, several students shared their thoughts about the recent event and the other discriminatory acts occurring throughout the community.

“For me, when I read about the swastika it wasn’t a big thing…it was more that in the context of all the other things that happened at UCSB…and the conversation that now we’re talking about because of that,” said senior Edo Barel.

Edo also mentioned Holocaust Remembrance Day, which took place on January 27th.

”At least at our school, there wasn’t much talk at all about Holocaust Remembrance Day or anything about it until this happened, and I feel like that’s where, at least for me, it hits the most. It’s not the action itself, it’s the fact that we don’t talk about a day as important as Holocaust Remembrance Day until an event like this happens,” he said.

For other students, the incident brought up conversations on their past experiences dealing with antisemitism on campus. One student shared their story of how they were bullied their freshman year due to their Jewish background.

“There were two students in my class that were constantly making these antisemitic remarks towards me and I didn’t know how to handle it at all… and after I’d anonymously reported it, it wasn’t really taken seriously because when they asked the students, they denied it… and nothing else really happened at first,” they said.

Incidents like these, as well as other more minor forms of antisemitism are not a rare occurrence at DP. This raises a discussion as to how the administration should respond to this incident.

“There’s other signs of antisemitism that this school looks over, and they’re, I’m not saying blowing this one out of proportion, they’re just making it a really big thing,” said sophomore Will Parisse.

“When I first saw it I didn’t think of it as a personal attack, I just thought some idiot saw it, it popped in their head, and just drew it without thinking,” said sophomore Eli Komaiko.

Sophomore Ian Bosso explained how giving so much attention to the swastika may only encourage similar incidents.

“I think making this as big a deal as we have will cause it to happen more, because the people who do that really want people to get mad at it, and now that we have, it’s going to be more common,” he said.

DPHS has taken several steps to address issues of antisemitism and other forms of bias and discrimination. On Friday, February 24th during seminar, all teachers reviewed SBUnified’s new board resolution, the Respectful Treatment of All Persons resolution, and led discussions with their classes.

The resolution states, “The Santa Barbara Unified School District establish and affirm that students, employees, parents and community members in both schools and offices treat all persons equally and respectfully and refrain from the willful or negligent use of slurs against any person on the basis of race, language spoken, color, sex, disability, national origin, immigration status, age, gender sexual orientation, or political belief.”

Sophomore Ella Payne advocates for education on the Holocaust and the history of antisemitism to discourage antisemitic acts at school.

“If people learned more about World War II or if they did a deeper dive or put more emphasis on it, then would this happen as much?”

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