For the second time in a week, the principal of Point Loma High School, Hans Becker, sent an email to parents about hate-speech on social media.
Becker did so after several Instagram posts were circulated among students with anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim messages. Becker wrote that an investigation was launched, and several students were interviewed, but that no substantiated threats were found.
The messages included pictures of swastikas and one of them even invited Point Loma students to join the militia.
The regional director for the Anti-Defamation League told NBC 7 she’s not surprised.
“This year in K-12 what we’re seeing is anti-Semitism, racism, bullying, bias. It’s just been a really tough school year,” Tammy Gillies said.
Anti-Semitic incidents were up 27 percent in California in 2018, according to the ADL.
Gillies said anti-Semitism is on the rise, not just in California and our country, but around the world. Her agency is already working with administrators at Point Loma High to help students identify hate and prevent it.
“We will work with them as the school year begins in the fall to create the kind of environment that they want and we all want for our students,” Gillies added.
Tracy Wright told us she’s concerned for her son, who’s a student at Point Loma High. She told NBC 7 it’s important for parents to talk to their kids.
“Social media is a hard thing to control and the more people that are aware of the situation, I think the better,” Wright said.
She believes administrators at Point Loma High are handling the issue the best they can.
Out of an abundance of caution, extra police officers will be present on campus for the rest of the school year.
The email the principal sent to the parents’ states the following:
Dear Point Loma High Families,
Since I emailed you earlier this week about student-posted social media messages that included hate speech, I have been made aware that copies of these messages were recently posted by another student on a social media site. Point Loma High prides itself for fostering an inclusive community that values the contributions of all students.
In response to these postings, here is we have done: We worked with School Police and conducted an investigation, which included multiple interviews with students, parents, community members, and staff. Police have determined there is no substantiated threat, and that PLHS students remain safe.
Moving forward, we have reached out to the Anti-Defamation League in an effort to strengthen our tolerance-education programs and to seek designation as an official No Place for Hate campus. I have included in this email resources from ADL that I encourage you to share with your students as you discuss the importance of showing respect for others, and the consequences of spreading hate speech.
If you or your students ever feel unsafe, our counselors and administrators are always available to talk. We work every day with School Police, which out of an abundance of caution, will have an increased presence on campus in the coming days.
Let’s all work together to celebrate our successes as we close out this school year.
Principal, Point Loma High School