Two Swastikas Discovered at B-CC

“[Maryland] has seen a 98% increase [in antisemitic incidents] between 2021 to 2022, and a 132% increase from 2020,” according to Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson.

B-CC is again confronted with antisemitism in its student body, with two graffiti pieces resembling swastikas recently found in a bathroom and on a desk. These roughly quarter-sized hate symbols were discovered following an uptick in antisemitic incidents.

“[Maryland] has seen a 98% increase [in antisemitic incidents] between 2021 to 2022, and a 132% increase from 2020,” according to Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson. This recent explosion in antisemitism is echoed across the nation, as the Anti-Defamation League reported a 3,697 antisemitic incidents in 2022, the most since they started keeping records. 

Senior Ailey Fogel-Bublick shared, “[The incidents] make me feel a little bit anxious.” Senior Sasha Grosberg commented, “The scale of [antisemitism] is not understood by people outside of the [Jewish] community.” She added, “When you go to synagogue, there’s a police officer outside. When you go to church on Christmas day, there are not cops there.”

In response to rising antisemitism, MCPS central office created a new form to report antisemitic acts of hate that is “similar to the bullying and harassment form,” according to B-CC administrator Mrs. Vickie Adamson. Mrs. Adamson added that this new form has been used three times at B-CC since its inception. 

What sets this new form apart from the bullying and harassment one is that it is more specific to acts of hate, including options to report drawings, for example. “So [the form] might force us to look more closely at an incident,” said Mrs. Adamson. Once the report is filed, it is documented in Synergy, allowing the school to track the number of incidents that occur, making it easier to identify trends of hate.

Also in response to the antisemitism surge, and in addition to a previously held advisory lesson on antisemitism, the B-CC administration is working with the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” program and the school’s Jewish Student Union to plan another advisory lesson about antisemitism. This is set to take place on April 17, immediately before Holocaust Remembrance Day. “The plan currently is it’s going to be done through Social Studies and English classes,” says Dr. Hunter Hogewood, the director of the Social Studies department.

While the administration realizes that antisemitism is a prevalent issue and is striving to combat it, some in the B-CC community believe that the administration isn’t doing enough. “I wish B-CC was less reactive, more proactive,” said PTA President Lyric Winik, adding, “I would like the school to clearly state expectations for students and also faculty around how we can not only be diverse, but inclusive — and why it matters.” 

Similarly, some students believe that certain aspects of Jewish history, such as the holocaust, should be implemented into the curriculum of history classes. “I believe the county should make education about antisemitism mandatory, and not just an advisory lesson, but instead a well-researched lesson taught in an actual class so students pay attention,” said the President of the Jewish Culture Club and a junior at B-CC, Charlie Raibman. Another student, junior Noah Taylor, believes that “The incidents that occurred might have never occurred if we educated students on the topic of antisemitism.”

The county and schools have acknowledged the many incidents that have occurred over the school year, including Nazi symbols on walls and desks and the graffiti that was drawn at Whitman High School.

MCPS Associate Superintendent Dr. Peter Moran stated, “It’s a mistake to say that these events are hurtful only to Jewish students. These incidents are hurtful to all of us, everyone in the community.”