Instead of tag or hopscotch, children at two elementary schools in the Bedford school district outside Boston have invented a new game: “Jail the Jews.”
This and other anti-Semitic incidents have taken place in the Bedford school district in recent months, the Boston Globe reports. According to police reports, swastikas, and graffiti were also found at Bedford High School and in one of the elementary schools, prompting a response from the community.
Near Hanukkah and Christmas, Jewish students reported that they were being accused by their Christian counterpoints of “killing Jesus.” One little girl told her parents that a classmate had threatened to “destroy her country” because she is Jewish.
Superintendent Jon Sills is holding a community forum tonight to discuss the incidents, and has reached out to different organizations that may be able to provide solutions. A local interfaith group of clergy have come up with a program called “Love Your Neighbor,” a year-long initiative that will encourage students to treat those of different faiths with dignity and respect.
“The school has been on top of it from the start,” Robert Trestan, the New England director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Globe. “One of the important antidotes to this is a community response, and these pieces are starting to be put in place.”
Police are investigating the graffiti as hate crimes. Police Chief Robert Bongiorno assured the community that the Bedford Police Department, which is working together with the schools, is “committed to ending and preventing any further acts of anti-Semitism in our community.”