Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Students At Elite New York Public School Back Gaza Tribute

Several students at Manhattan’s elite Beacon School told the Forward Monday they were supportive of a moment of silence held last week for the dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, which angered some parents.

An announcement was made on May 15 near the end of the school day, students at the selective public high school said.

“A lot of us are really concerned with what Israel is doing,” said junior Matt Klass, who is Jewish. “I think there is some disparity in how the parents feel and how the students feel.”

Klass added that a large percentage of the student body was Jewish, but more left-leaning and sympathetic to Palestinians and a two-state solution.

Another student said she was surprised by the controversy since the school is very politically minded and will often address complex issues.

“I am for [the moment of silence]. I was outraged after other people were outraged by it,” said the junior, who just gave her last name, Kahn. “This is about people rightfully protesting and getting hurt as a result of it.”

Fellow junior Rosie Hendricks said she wasn’t offended by the announcement but felt they could have “given more context” about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I think it was fine. It was not intended to support terrorists,” she said.

Some parents expressed outrage to the New York Post, who first reported the story on Saturday.

“I just don’t think any school should be promoting a moment of silence for terrorists. What if it was Islamic terrorists in ISIS?” a Jewish student’s mother told the Post. “No school would be having that over the loudspeaker.”

Zionest Organization of America leader Morton Klein also slammed the moment of silence.

“It is disgraceful to mourn the death of Hamas terrorists,” Klein reportedly told the Post.

The ZOA did not return an immediate request for comment made by the Forward.

A New York City Department of Education spokesman said they were supportive of the announcement.

“We support civic engagement and advocacy amongst students, and encourage schools to provide inclusive environments where students are able to respectfully discuss current events,” DOE representative Doug Cohen said in a statement.

The principal of the Beacon School was not immediately available to comment.

Contact Ben Fractenberg at [email protected] or on Twitter, @fractenberg

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.