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Principal forced to apologise after Jewish students targeted with antisemitic social media posts at Missouri High School

The Principal of Parkway Central High School in Missouri has written a letter to parents after students of the school were found to have been hosting antisemitic content on their Facebook pages.

Jewish students told the press that they felt hurt, angry, and personally attacked, with some of the posts being targeted against individual Jewish students. However, the exact nature of the antisemitic posts has been kept from the media, so we are unable to report on exactly what is said or just how serious the incident is.

The Principal Tim McCarthy said that the posts were “unacceptable and antithetical to the values we share as a school community”. He contacted the Anti-Defamation League who have been communicating with the school since the incident, which occurred last week.

Both of the two Parkway Central students who were involved have written apologies, but there has been no mention of formal punishment. There were also posts from people outside the School, and it is unknown what action will be taken against them.

The Principal’s full letter to parents can be read below:

PCH Community,

Regretfully, I am sending this email to share with you information regarding an incident that transpired within the Central High community via social media last week.  As some may already know, two Central High students posted anti-Semitic images and messages on social media.  The posts were viewed by a significant number of Central High students, causing many students to feel offended, outraged, hurt, and, for some, targeted.  The posts are unacceptable and antithetical to the values we share as a school community.  Thankfully, several students brought the posts to the attention of school administrators, which allowed us to address the offensive posts directly with the students responsible and their parents.
Please know that your student’s safety, both physical and emotional, is always our priority.  As a school, we have addressed the incident with both students and their parents; each student, I believe, has accepted responsibility for the harm they have caused.  In an effort to repair that harm, each student sent to me a letter of apology and asked that I communicate to you their sincere remorse.  As you deem appropriate as a parent, please consider talking with your student about the incident, as well as the apology offered by both students.  We will continue to talk with students in the building to monitor the situation as we move forward.  If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
From my perspective, an incident such as this is upsetting on multiple levels.  Yet, as is so often the case in difficult situations, I was reassured by the positive actions of so many of our students.  A countless number of Central High students recognized the posts were wrong and many followed up with an adult in the school to let us know what was happening and to share their feelings of concern and hurt.  The commitment our students demonstrated to treating people with respect and dignity, as well as their expectation to be treated with that same respect and dignity by others, starts at home and we deeply appreciate your work as parents.  As a school community, we will continue our work of creating a culture and climate that reflects these values.
Tim McCarthy
Principal, PCH”