The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Breaking News: SUHSD to collect lesson material related to Israel and Palestine

Political+and+humanitarian+debates+transcend+into+the+classroom.+All+teachers+in+the+Sequoia+Union+High+School+District+are+required+to+hand+over+any+lesson+materials+or+information+discussed+surrounding+the+current+Israel-Hamas+war+following+a+California+Public+Records+Act+request.
2017.03.26 Anti-Israel Protest, Washington, DC USA / Ted Eytan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0 /
Political and humanitarian debates transcend into the classroom. All teachers in the Sequoia Union High School District are required to hand over any lesson materials or information discussed surrounding the current Israel-Hamas war following a California Public Records Act request.

Every teacher in the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) received a formal notice instructing them to submit all instructional materials containing words related to the Israel-Palestine conflict on Jan. 31.

After the first announcement was sent out, Associate Superintendent for SUHSD Bonnie Hansen sent another email directly to teachers of the Ethnic Studies course. The new email requested that all of their materials and text messages related to the Ethnic Studies course be submitted to the school district.

The Deborah Project requested materials related to the Israel-Palestine conflict through the California Public Records Act (CPRA), which the organization enacted to obtain this information.

The Deborah Project’s primary goal is to “uncover, publicize, and dismantle anti-Semitic abuses in educational systems, to bring wrongdoers to justice and deter future abuses,” according to their website. 

They took an interest in the school district’s educational materials after controversy erupted when a group of SUHSD parents created a petition that raised concerns about a presentation they thought oversimplified the conflict.

District lawyers instructed teachers throughout the school district to send any information and courses related to Zionism, Zionists, Israel, Israelis, Palestine, and Palestinians that could create unwanted controversy. 

“The school district told us we had to implement [the words] into our curriculum and were just dealing with their requests as best as we possibly can,” said Jayson Waller, the social studies department chair at Carlmot High School.

Of the two teachers who shared the presentation with their classes, M-A Ethnic Studies Teacher Chloe Gentile-Montgomery has faced most of the backlash and harassment from parents. 

Parents claimed that the presentation and other materials that the department showed to their students were critically oversimplified, and some thought it warranted investigations into antisemitism within the school district.

Tensions between parents, teachers, and students rose when a meeting with the SUHSD Board of Trustees on Jan. 17 turned chaotic. Over 60 people spoke about the issue, taking stances towards and against the teachers’ actions, which led to more conflict and the calling of the police.

While not directly impacted by this issue, the controversy still affects parents and students at Carlmont High School, and they want to weigh into the conversation.

“Teachers are always asked to translate current events for their students, and it’s not easy,” said Carlmont parent Sarah Ryan. “It’s unfair for anyone to judge them as they decipher historically complex events with total mastery.”

In recent years, parents’ discourse about what students should and should not learn has grown more chaotic as the country becomes increasingly divided. What students learn in school becomes the starting point for the people they will become and the ideas they will support. 

“I feel like the things we learn in school have a greater impact than just what grade we get. If people are too divided on our ideas, then it will throw the school into chaos if we are not able to figure it out,” said Carlmont sophomore Theo Scherer.

*This is a breaking news story. The article will be updated with more information.

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About the Contributor
Wesley Kron, Staff Writer
Wesley Kron (Class of 2o26) loves eating new foods, playing with his cat, and thinking about how the world works. He covers world and local news and is excited to cover big stories to give you a taste of the world around him. You will most likely see him on the mat, where he is an active member of Carlmont's wrestling team, or online, chatting with friends and playing games.

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