New York City Mayor Eric Adams said city officials are investigating a “vile show of antisemitism” in which students at a high school in Queens reportedly rioted after learning a teacher attended a pro-Israel rally.
The incident shut down Hillcrest High School in Jamaica Hills, Queens, for two hours on Monday and forced the teacher to hide inside a locked office while the students rampaged down the halls, the New York Post first reported.
“The vile show of antisemitism at Hillcrest High School was motivated by ignorance-fueled hatred, plain and simple, and it will not be tolerated in any of our schools, let alone anywhere else in our city,” Adams wrote on X.
“We are better than this,” the mayor added.
Students had planned a protest after seeing a Facebook photo of the teacher holding a sign that read, “I stand with Israel,” the report said. In the students’ group chat, they spoke about “starting a riot,” one student told the outlet.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, hundreds of teens stormed the hallways, where they chanted, waved Palestinian flags and screamed that the teacher “needs to go,” according to the report. Parts of the incident were captured on video and posted to TikTok.
The teacher, whose name was not publicly released, has worked in the city’s school system for 23 years and has taught at Hillcrest for the past seven years. She told the Post that she “was shaken to my core” by the calls of violence against her both online and in the hallways outside her classroom.
“No one should ever feel unsafe at school — students and teachers alike,” the teacher said.
Adams said that NYC Public Schools has begun a full investigation into how the incident took place. He also said that Project Pivot teams will begin outreach with students at Hillcrest this week “to ensure they understand why this behavior was unacceptable.”
“No student, teacher, or staff member should fear for their safety in our schools,” the mayor said.
Since Hamas terrorists launched a deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7, American Jews have become the targets of increased antisemitic hate.
In New York City, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force investigated 69 anti-Jewish incidents in October, a 214% surge compared to the same period last year.