Students stage pro-Palestinian walkout at Teaneck High School, Jewish community pushes back

Anthony Johnson Image
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Hundreds of students stage pro-Palestinian walkout at Teaneck High School
Anthony Johnson has the latest on a student walkout at Teaneck High School.

TEANECK, New Jersey (WABC) -- About 100 students at Teaneck High School in New Jersey staged a walkout in support of Palestinians and an end to the violence.

The superintendent allowed Wednesday's walkout, despite complaints from local Jewish organizations.

It turned into a contentious afternoon in a town with a big Jewish population, but the Muslim community is growing and most students in school are Black and Brown.

The walkout was in support of the Palestinian people as organizers claim the Palestinians are facing genocide.

But Tuesday night, supporters of Israel met outside the town hall. They protested the walkout saying it was an affront to the large Jewish community.

On Wednesday, the real confrontation was outside the school as police stood in between supporters of Israel and Palestinians as they went face to face.

Adults waged a verbal battle in a town where many Jewish people live and their families have been personally impacted since the Hamas attack back on October 7. They were appalled by the students' decision to protest in support of the Palestinian people.

Teaneck has been a town that previously had a strong Black and Jewish connection.

But now, that has been strained. There has been an increase in bias crimes against Jewish people in the community and this rally, supported by the school superintendent is viewed as a possible breaking point.

"It's clearly being marketed as an anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic event. And so, it's very problematic for a district that's claiming to be intolerant against bigotry, but at the same time an event that calls for a rally against Israeli-genocide, to wear a keffiyeh, to be able to chant, to bring Palestinian flags is in and of itself a hate, bias, and intimidation act against the Jewish community, and particularly the Jewish students at this school," said Jason Shames, CEO of The Jewish Federation of North Jersey.

Shames added that 99% of the Jewish kids living in Teaneck do not go to school in the district for religious reasons.

But some teachers expressed concerns about the rally.

Only students can rally on school grounds, but there were social media reports of others planning to join the rally.

Some parents of students watched to make sure things didn't escalate among the protesting students.

There were points and counter points and just a lot of shouting.

The protest ended at the town municipal building.

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Anthony Johnson has more on the investigation.


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