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Jewish students at Massachusetts middle school faced widespread harassment 

A school investigation reportedly uncovered video, social media posts and Google Docs made by the offending students that verify the allegations

Dozens of students at a Massachusetts middle school are accused of harassing their Jewish peers, including by performing Nazi salutes and making references to the gas chambers and Holocaust.

The incidents took place over the course of several months, according to a parent’s letter to city officials in Belchertown, a small town outside Springfield in western Massachusetts. That same letter claims that a school investigation has uncovered video, social media posts and Google Docs made by the offending students that verify the allegations.

Brian Cameron, superintendent of the Belchertown school district, condemned “racist and derogatory language and symbolism” in an email to parents in early April. “No one should ever have to come to work or school and experience discrimination and bigotry in any form,” he wrote. 

Cameron’s response and the parent’s letter — which claimed up to 50 middle schoolers had harassed their peers — were first reported Monday by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Heidi Gutekenst, chairwoman of the Belchertown School Committee, told the Gazette that Jabish Brook Middle School, where the abuse took place, had identified fewer than 10 culprits but believed more were responsible.

“Nobody’s been expelled, but there have been consequences,” she said.

There is no reliable data on instances of antisemitism among schoolchildren in the United States, but experts have warned that antisemitic sentiments promoted by celebrities like rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, and basketball star Kyrie Irving often correspond to increased bigotry in school settings.

The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, which covers the Springfield area, released a statement condemning antisemitism last month after it partnered with the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, which is funded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“We must educate others and stand proud of our culture and faith,” Nora Gorenstein, the federation chief, said in a statement at the time.

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