FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What possible antisemitism/anti-Israel bias can my child face?
A: Some textbooks and educational materials currently used in both public and private schools contain problematic content. Such materials contain content that are very one-sided or inaccurate in their teachings of Israel and misrepresent the Jewish-American community. Also, sometimes your child may come across a teacher who chooses to add problematic content or incorporate their own biased opinions and political agendas in their teaching. These situations can lead to an increase in hostility towards Israeli and Jewish American students. Whether students’ negative opinions towards Israeli and Jewish American students are fostered as a result of bias content or teaching, or brought from home, our students can experience an increase in origin-based discrimination and bullying.
Q: Can teachers teach about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promote BDS in the classroom?
A: Teachers usually have a lot of flexibility on what they can teach, including the topic of the conflict. However, above all, teachers need to foster a safe environment for their students that is free of bias. So, if teachers do choose to discuss this topic, it needs to be from approved and reliable sources with an equal representation of both sides’ narratives. If taught, this topic of the conflict should only come up in courses that are relevant and within materials/topics that are related. While it is legal for teachers to bring this into the classroom, it can bring out issues that result in the targeting of our community, making it necessary to look at such content with a critical eye.
Q: What if I want an issue to be addressed but would rather remain anonymous as to not harm my child’s reputation with the school, teachers, or peers?
A: That is exactly what the IAC is here for. We understand that sometimes it can put a family in an uncomfortable position with the school. However, it is important that the issue is not left unresolved and that the school conducts a proper response. Therefore, the IAC has had a lot of experience in approaching schools on behalf of the community, without using any specific names, to ensure the situation receives the proper response and that any necessary changes to problematic content or inappropriate conduct are made.
Q: What if I would rather handle the situation myself, without the IAC getting involved?
A: That’s great! We are happy that you are eager to address the situation and feel that you have a relationship with the school which allows you to do so. The IAC has materials and tools for parents and students on how to approach the school, ideas on proper repercussions, and step by step guidelines on how to reach a resolution. We encourage you to use these tools so you may have a more productive experience. To receive help, just file a complaint, and we will reach out to you to help set you up so you may reach out to the school yourself.
Q: I don’t think the situation me/my child experienced was that bad. Can I just let it go and not approach the school about it? I would rather not make it a big deal.
A: We do not recommend letting things go. Unfortunately, these situations tend to take on a snowball effect. If they are not addressed from the start, they continue to worsen. It is important to set the tone with the school/teacher for what will and will not be tolerated in order to avoid future situations. Schools often times are also unaware of bullying or problematic content and are happy and willing to work with the community to understand the issue and solve it.
Q: What if the school is being unresponsive and is not willing to help or fix the situation?
A: Unfortunately, this situation does occur, which is why it helps to have a community-backed organization behind you when approaching the school. If the teacher and school administration, is not helpful or willing to respond to the situation, this issue can be taken to the school board and district. The IAC has experience working with schoolboards and districts and can help you receive the desired outcome.