Bellevue parents sounding alarm about antisemitic bullying at schools

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Parents in Bellevue School District are voicing their concerns to the school board, saying their kids are being bullied because they’re Jewish.

Several parents spoke up during the Bellevue School Board meeting Thursday night, telling board members that the problems in schools have escalated since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

“I’m concerned about the safety of my two school children,” said Illan Lanz, a Bellevue parent.

Another parent KIRO 7 spoke with during the day said more parents from the Israel and Jewish communities wanted to speak up but were afraid they would be targeted or face retaliation.

KIRO 7 asked the Bellevue School District about the alleged bullying. The district did not confirm the incident but said that they’re “looking into incidents as it relates to parent concerns for safety” and that “protocols are being enforced.”

One parent who spoke up during the Thursday board meeting said her kids were repeatedly bullied, called derogatory names, and shown nazi symbols.

“My kids who came from a Jewish Israeli background have been subjected to repeated discriminatory harassment,” said Ayelet Winer, a Bellevue parent. “It reached a point where my kids were too afraid to go to school due to this hostile environment and they had to stay home.”

A dad in Bellevue spoke up too.

“The Jewish community is feeling unsafe. The school district must ensure safety for all our students,” he said.

The Bellevue superintendent, Dr. Kelly Aramaki said during the meeting that he knows the community is struggling. He emphasized that providing a learning environment free from discrimination, including antisemitism, is the district’s number one priority.

The board meeting and bullying concern comes after a different sort of incident happened Thursday morning. Bellevue police say demonstrators were gathered at Tillicum Middle School to protest school closures.

Police say at about 8am, a mom came over and took one demonstrator’s signs. She then started voicing her concerns about a Bellevue School District post that she perceived to be pro-Israel.

Investigators did not know what that post was, but the Bellevue superintendent did share a letter to the community after the initial Hamas attack on Israel.

Bellevue police say the mom ended up getting into a situation with another parent at the school, who was initially inside a car. That dad at some point ended up getting scratched. The mom was arrested from the scene and booked on assault charges.

Investigators say it’s an isolated incident and do not believe it was an antisemitic act

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