Middle East studies in the News
Ithaca Superintendent Apologizes for Speaker's Anti-Israeli Comments Made to Third Graders [on Bassem Tamimi]
by Jolene Almendarez
The Ithaca City School District superintendent released a statement Friday afternoon apologizing for anti-Israeli comments and calls to action made to third graders during a presentation about human rights last Friday.
Superintendent Luvelle Brown said in a new release, "We recognize that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is very sensitive to many members of our community. We also recognize that this delicate topic was not presented in a manner consistent with its importance. We sincerely regret that this has occurred."
Brown verified in a brief interview that Bassem Tamimi -- a pro-Palestinian activist -- spoke to third graders at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School last Friday afternoon.
Brown said a teacher invited Ariel Gold -- also a pro-Palestinian activist who has spoken at the school in the past --- to speak at the school about human rights as part of the third grade New York State social studies curriculum on human rights.
He said administrators did not know that Tamimi, who was not invited to speak, was at the school.
Brown said he is not sure how many students heard the presentation.
"There is an ongoing personnel investigation," he said, about the incident.
Brown sent out the following news release about the incident:
The New York State Social Studies Standards for third grade includes the topic of human rights. On Friday, September 18th, two speakers were invited to present on human rights and peace to the third grade at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School. Upon further investigation, we have learned that the speakers went beyond the original intent of the talk. Also, school administration was not informed beforehand of the presence of additional speakers.
The following statements are some of the most egregious examples from the presentation:
Such statements are not developmentally appropriate for third graders, nor aligned with the New York State standards. The statements were politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.
At a minimum, we are taking immediate action in the following areas:
We recognize that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is very sensitive to many members of our community. We also recognize that this delicate topic was not presented in a manner consistent with its importance. We sincerely regret that this has occurred.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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