The Palm Beach Schools Police Department is investigating an antisemitic act of vandalism that took place at Equestrian Trails Elementary School in Wellington.
The incident took place on Friday afternoon. The school did not disclose what occurred, just an act of antisemitic vandalism took place.
The school’s principal — Michele Chorniewy — sent a message out to parents and guardians informing them of the situation:
School Police are currently investigating an antisemitic act of vandalism that took place on our campus. Once the investigation is completed, the individual responsible may face criminal charges and discipline, if applicable, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
I want to assure you that your children are safe. Our District takes a strict stance against antisemitic activity and is committed to educating our students with a deeper understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, intolerance, and stereotyping. It is crucial that every student and staff member feels safe on a school campus.
The School District of Palm Beach County makes available a wide range of grade-level appropriate resources, lectures, and interactive lessons that address intolerance and discrimination. Equestrian Trails will continue to promote a culture that embraces diversity.
A rabbi from the Wellington area told CBS12 News Friday, he received some concerning calls from parents about an Israeli flag that was allegedly torn or ripped down.
The School District of Palm Beach County declined to confirm this or share more details during the ongoing investigation.
There are several flags of different nations seen hanging from the covered outdoor walkway at the elementary school. CBS12 news did not see an Israeli flag.
An alarming rise in antisemitic acts reported across the country since Hamas and Israel went to war strikes fear into local Jewish communities.
“Having our children exposed to antisemitism, not just in general, but in the places, they go to school, is extremely troubling for us,” Melissa Arden, Chief Planning Officer with the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, told CBS12 News.
“The most recent data said that there’s a 388% increase in antisemitic incidents from this time last year, and that number is extremely startling. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising seeing what we’re seeing.”
Others are changing their everyday behavior out of fear of being a Jewish target.
“We’re hearing a lot of concerns from parents that fear for their children to go to Jewish institutions or wear their Judaic star proudly. Parents are telling their children to tuck that away,” Arden said. “We’re working very hard to ensure that kids feel safe, and they feel proud to be Jewish on campus, in school, or wherever they may be.”