BCPS Students Are Facing Anti-Semitism


Talia Adelman is a Jewish-American student at South Broward High School. The 16-year-old sophomore has faced a lot of struggles at school: keeping up with homework, staying awake in school, and paying attention in class. One thing she didn’t think she would have to struggle with? Anti-Semitism.

“This one girl in my English class told me I should be baptized. She also drew crosses on my arm and the boy who witnessed it told me I was crazy,” said Adelman.

Adelman faces incidents of anti-Semitism a lot. She tries to stick up for herself, but it gets more difficult each time.

“Another student on the bus attempted to put his cross necklace on me and told me I was going to Hell,” said Adelman. 

Anti-Semitism is currently at an all-time high in the United States.. According to the FBI website about hate crimes, 58% of religious-based hate crimes are towards the Jewish population in 2021. Compare this to 2019, where anti-Semitism was only 40%. 

Some incidents of anti-Semitism include two teens vandalizing a rabbi’s home in Lee County, Florida; flyers handed out in South Florida blaming the Jewish people for the COVID-19 pandemic; and a man dumping human feces at the South Broward Chabad in Hollywood, Florida. 

In regards to hate-based attacks, the Broward County Student Code of Conduct says “students who believe they have been victims of a hate crime must immediately report the act to a teacher and/or school administrator. Broward District School Police conducts hate crime investigations.”

Adelman did not report these incidents because she was scared of what might happen or who would judge her.

“I don’t want people to think I’m a snitch, but it is getting ridiculous,” said Adelman.

Darryl Baker is the 11th grade administrator at SBHS. Administrators deal with discipline at the school. 

“There isn’t one set punishment because there are different levels. The maximum punishment is expulsion,” said Baker.

Baker is happy he hasn’t had to deal with any kind of hate crime. However, if the time does come, he says he’s gonna bring it to a stop.

“The School Board doesn’t mess with any kind of hate. If something does happen, they should bring it to us,” said Baker.

Another Jewish sophomore at, Noa Heby, has also faced acts of hate. Class time is supposed to be time for learning, but for Heby it can be scary.

“Last month, someone in my class accused me of being rich just because I am Jewish. I said that’s not true and then he threw a penny at me,” said Heby.

Other BCPS students have noticed more anti-Semitism as well. Take for example Nova High School sophomore Rebecca Vogel. 

One day when she was in her science class, a classmate kept doing the “Hitler Salute” in her direction. His friends joined in and told her to burn in a gas chamber.

Vogel got in trouble for standing up for herself when she got physical with the anti-Semite. She attempted to report the incident to her administration, but nothing happened.

According to a poll taken by NBC News, in 2019, 63% of Americans from the ages of 18-39 were unaware of the Holocaust.  The people in the poll did not know about the rise in attacks.

“Personally, I don’t think anyone possibly understands the generational trauma. All my life I’ve gone to public school, and only now have I felt we are actually learning something about the Holocaust,” said Vogel.

The Holocaust happened a little over 80 years ago. It hasn’t even been 100 years since the mass murder of the Jewish population. 

“I think that the rise in attacks and hate crimes has a correlation with the lack of knowledge. If the schools taught the Holocaust more, maybe there would be less hate,” said Vogel.

In 1994, Florida State Legislature passed a law requiring Holocaust education for grades K-12, but Jewish students feel as though it is not being taught properly. 

“In my Holocaust class, I feel like no one cares and just goes on their phone”, said Adelman. 

Anti-Semitism being at an all-time high isn’t good, so what should we do about it?

If a BCPS student experiences an act of anti-Semitism, here are the steps you need to do:

1) Email your grade level administrator about the incident so you have a written record.

2) Go to your grade level administrator in person the same day you wrote the email. Report the incident online and in person.

3) The school will then conduct an investigation with any witnesses. If the majority says the same thing, then they will proceed forward with the incident. 

4) Depending on how bad the incident was, the person could then get a minimum punishment of a suspension and a maximum punishment of expulsion. 

“I didn’t know how to report the incident. I was so scared at that moment,” said Adelman. 

The BCPS school system needs to be aware of these incidents in order for them to do something about it. 

“There are things BCPS could do to help combat anti-Semitism such as teaching about Jewish culture, history, and people,” said Adelman.

There is no positive outcome Anti-Semitism has on students. School is supposed to be a learning environment, not a place of fear. 

“Unfortunately history has proven that trying to blend in does not protect you from the anti-Semite. It is easier to say than do, but confront Anti-Semitism at the time it happens”, said Adelman.