Board member lashes out at school board meeting dealing with hate speech incident

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After Superintendent Jill Gildea read a statement regarding a recent incident in which a swastika was found in Jewish teacher Josh Goldberg’s classroom, school board member Andrew Caplan responded with emotion. He called the incident ignorant, but also condemned some comments the district received from the Jewish community.

Rabbi David Levinsky emailed his congregation and asked that those upset about reported anti-Semitic incidents contact School Board President Erin Grady and Superintendent Jill Gildea to advocate for anti-bias training and of a diversity program.

Speaking for 10 minutes, Caplan pointed out that he and two other board members were Jewish. He said the emails he received about anti-Semitic incidents were “pathetic”, “ignorant”, “absurd” and “insane”.

“I’m not mad that people are angry. Mr. Goldberg should be angry. All Jews in this community should be angry, all Latinos should be angry. All people of color should be. White people should be angry. Everyone should be upset. But we don’t solve this by threatening to be sued. I’d like to see that – I’d like to be prosecuted for being Jewish. The threats that reach us are pathetic, ignorant, just like the student who wrote the swastika in the classroom.

Caplan closed his comments with a call for parents:

“To all who are listening, teach your children the lessons that hate doesn’t fight hate. This is simply not the case. It just creates more animosity.”

Goldberg is the head of the high school’s social studies department. He spoke out in public comments and said he was a victim of anti-Semitism throughout his life. He said since finding the swastika he has learned of more than 60 recent incidents of racism and anti-Semitism in Park City schools.

“It went viral, and the students started talking, and pretty soon I was bombarded with incidents that can be construed as hate crimes or hate speech that is rampant throughout the district, especially in Ecker, Treasure and in high school.”

Goldberg said the district doesn’t have the resources to deal with the issue and he believes the swastika incident is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Staff training — we need a cultural change, a significant and major cultural change that happens from the top down. I find that odious. I believe the Jewish community here is committed to civic dialogue. And I think what you see is people got it. I know of a number of incidents, cases that have been brought specifically to the district, that have not been addressed or swept under the rug.

After Goldberg spoke, Caplan spoke to him directly, thanking him before adding that the Latinx community faces more discrimination than the Jewish community. Caplan then went back to condemning the emails the district had received about the incidents as being too critical.

Exchanges between board members and public commentators are not permitted at meetings, per rules posted on the board’s webpage.

The Park City School Board also posted a letter on its website on Tuesday asking the community to weigh in on the hate speech problem, but refrain from denigrating emails and personal attacks on students. council members and district administration.

The school district will not comment to KPCW, after it said through its attorney last November that it would not engage with the station at least until the Summit County prosecutor’s investigation. on compliance with the mask mandate at Parley’s Park be completed.

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