ZOA Files Title VI Complaint Against Montgomery County Public Schools, After Years of Antisemitism Ignored and Tolerated by Officials
News Press Release
April 18, 2024

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has filed a civil rights complaint against Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), alleging severe, persistent and pervasive antisemitism in the schools that district officials have failed to address, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.  The complaint, against Maryland’s largest school district, was filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today.

The ZOA’s complaint documents years of antisemitic harassment and intimidation endured by Jewish students and staff, including the following: 

  • Ethnic slurs, such as “Jewish f—k,” “Jew-boy” and Hey, Jew”; “Heil Hitler” salutes; and Jewish “jokes” from peers that recommend that Jewish students should be put in a concentration camp. One Jewish student was recently told that Hitler had not done enough and that he should go back to Israel. 
  • School property throughout the district has been defaced with swastikas.
  • In December 2022, the entrance sign at one MCPS high school was vandalized with the words, “Jews Not Welcome.” The day before, several staff members at the high school received antisemitic email messages.
  • School staff who have publicly denied the Hamas massacre on October 7, 2023, and who have publicly called for Israel’s elimination are tolerated and remain in teaching positions in the district. MCPS retained a staff member who promoted the lie that “Palestinians are being killed and their organs are being sold.”  MCPS hired this staff member as a “diversity, equity and inclusion” teacher.
  • Student “pro-Palestinian” walkouts at MCPS high schools after the Hamas massacre disrupted school operations and caused many Jewish students to stay away from school out of fear for their safety. School officials tolerated the walkouts and remained silent even after student protesters at these walkouts legitimized and encouraged violence and terrorism against Jews and Israelis and called for Israel’s destruction.
  • At one MCPS high school, the organizers of the “pro-Palestinian” walkout posted on social media that “There is no country called Israel” and “‘Israel’ is a group of Zionist Jewish people from all over the world & dont [sic] have a state.” The organizers also openly called for Israel’s elimination, posting, “We want liberation, we want our lands back.  All of PALESTINE.  From the river to the sea.”  School officials not only failed to condemn the conduct; they allowed the walkout to proceed and disrupt classes, and later commended the protesters for “demonstrating peacefully.”
  • At another high school walkout in MCPS, a faculty member overheard one student say, “We should bring Hitler back,” and another student say, “Kill the Jews.” After being alerted to the antisemitic comments and threat, the principal failed even to alert the community or condemn the comments.  Instead, the principal praised the protesters for their “fantastic job.”  Moreover, MCPS retaliated against the faculty member who reported the antisemitic comments and threat, by knowingly making false accusations against her and baselessly sanctioning her.
  • MCPS retaliated against other staff members after they raised concerns about antisemitism in their schools.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Director of ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., stated, “The ZOA’s complaint is based on horrifying reports from parents and teachers about the antisemitism that MCPS officials have known about for years and have failed to address.  Their indifference and inaction are a stark contrast to how vigilantly district officials have responded when other ethnic and racial groups were targeted.

“Members of the MCPS community have spent years trying to resolve the antisemitism in their school district. They’ve asked for district officials to speak out forcefully against antisemitism, to appropriately discipline perpetrators, and to provide students and staff with the training they need to understand how antisemitism is expressed today and how to respond to it effectively.  But these community members have largely been met with indifference and even hostility from district officials.

“We are grateful to the many community members who came forward to share their painful experiences with us.  And we are hoping that the Office for Civil Rights will investigate the ZOA’s complaint promptly and thoroughly.  It’s time that MCPS is finally held accountable under the law for failing to provide a learning environment that is physically and psychologically safe for Jews.”

Center for Law & Justice
We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.