Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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DOE Investigating New Jersey Disctrict Over Antisemitism

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Teaneck Public Schools over possible claims of antisemitism and discrimination, the federal agency confirmed to Patch.

The investigation into Teaneck schools joins a growing list of similar federal Title VI civil rights probes following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

According to a Department of Education list, the investigation into the district was opened on Jan. 5. While a Department of Education spokesperson could not confirm the nature of the investigation, the spokesperson provided context on the probe by directing Patch to a news release announcing the agency’s efforts to take “aggressive action” against antisemitism in schools.

The department declined to comment further on the investigation, the spokesperson said.

The investigation comes amid tensions between Teaneck students, administrators and community members following Hamas’ attack on Israel when militants stormed through Israeli communities, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

More than 23,000 people in Gaza have been killed during Israel’s military campaign, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory. That toll does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

In October, Teaneck residents packed a school board meeting over a letter sent to families by Superintendent Andre Spencer, offering support and counseling to students affected by the conflict, according to a Bergen Record report.

Residents criticized Spencer and said he should have explicitly condemned Hamas and terrorism.

A month later, a group of about 100 students at Teaneck High School staged a pro-Palestinian walkout and called for an end to the violence, according to an ABC7 report. Spencer allowed the walkout despite complaints from local Jewish organizations, the report said.

A day before the planned walkout, a local Jewish organization held a rally denouncing antisemitism, CBS News reported.

“If somebody wants to spread that hateful speech, that has no place in our public schools,” said Rabbi Daniel Friedman with the Jewish Center of Teaneck, according to the station.

When contacted by Patch, Teaneck Public Schools spokesperson Connie Le declined to comment on the investigation, citing privacy reasons.

“But all such matters are addressed appropriately,” Le added. “We do not tolerate any harassment, bullying, or intimidation and thoroughly investigate any reports of this type of behavior.”