Ultra-progressive NYC prep school targeted by antisemitic graffiti

A tony New York City private school that prides itself as a bastion of cultural diversity and tolerance was vandalized with ugly anti-Israel graffiti — in at least the fifth disturbing incident involving race or religion to impact the Bronx campus in the last decade.

Two seniors wearing keffiyehs wrote “Free Palestine” in chalk in large yellow letters on the brick wall above the $63,000-a-year Ethical Culture Fieldston School’s front entrance Monday afternoon, a source told The Post.

The hostile vandalism was apparently livestreamed by the teens, the source said, though it was not known whether a recording of it existed.

The concerning incident prompted school administrators to host a “listening session” with parents Wednesday night, including many “Jewish affinity group parents.”

“Many parents were upset but it’s not clear if the administration has decided to do anything yet,” the source said.

“The biggest issue is that when things pop up around antisemitism, they are not taken as seriously as issues like racism or homophobia.

“They only care about the impact that something involving race or homosexuality has on students. It’s a big double standard, like antisemitism doesn’t matter as much.”

The graffiti has since been removed and an investigation has been launched, according to a letter sent by administrators to the school community on May 20.

However, one parent said this incident is part of a deeper systemic problem.

“This pro-Palestine, pro-Hamas stuff is not just coming from the students, it’s coming from the teachers as well,” the parent, whose children are former students at the elite school, told The Post.

“All these tenured teachers who hold really radical views have held onto power there, they’ve been indoctrinating the kids, and ultimately the result is the school is f—ed up,” the parent, who did not want to be identified, said, adding that the family’s decision to pull their kids from the school was “the best decision of our lives.”

An upscale NYC private school was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti in at least the fifth eyebrow-raising incident around race or religion to hit the campus in the last decade. J.C. Rice

Founded in 1878 by Felix Adler, the son of a rabbi, the pre-K-12th grade school is part of the Ivy Preparatory School League, a cohort of elite Big Apple private schools.

Fieldston, Riverdale Country School, and Horace Mann School, all located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, are collectively known as the “Hill schools.”

The parent said Fieldston has “been at the cutting edge of diversity, equity and inclusion” and “all of the insanity that results from it.”

The graffiti is just the latest example of how the school’s DEI efforts have “exacerbated antisemitism at the school.”

Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx
Two seniors wearing keffiyehs wrote “Free Palestine” in chalk in large yellow letters on the brick wall above the $63,000-a-year Ethical Culture Fieldston School’s front entrance Monday afternoon, a source told The Post. Obtained by NY Post

The school — which boasts about its commitment to “diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging” on its website — has notched numerous disturbing instances involving race or religion in recent years.

In 2015, the school’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students were divided up into race-based “affinity groups” in mandatory weekly sessions where they discussed “what it was like to be a member of that race,” The Cut reported at the time.

The program drew strong objections from many parents, particularly white parents, who feared being labeled as racists if they expressed their concerns.

In February 2019, a video showing ECFS students using “racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language” began circulating, leading to student protests after they felt the school’s disciplinary actions didn’t go far enough.

In November that same year, the school hosted a guest speaker who likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the horrors of the Holocaust, drawing strong rebukes.

In January 2020, ECFS fired a Jewish teacher who tweeted their opposition to a pair of speakers invited to the campus to speak about antisemitism on the grounds they were “white” and Zionists.

According to the source who spoke to The Post, the school has a history of downplaying certain acts of racial, ethnic or religious-based violence, while elevating others — and that it only thinks of things in terms of “the oppressed and the oppressors.”

“When George Floyd was murdered, the teachers were told to stop teaching what they were teaching and to teach about Floyd and racism,” the source said.

“But when the Oct. 7 attack happened, they told teachers not to talk to students about it.”

Although Fieldston had brought in “conflict negotiators” in light of these incidents to help the school community resolve matters and build community, the efforts are “very light on content and heavy on feelings,” the source said.

Reached by email, a school spokesperson said, “We do not discuss disciplinary matters involving students. We do not tolerate antisemitism and stand against all forms of hate. We are committed to ensuring all students feel safety, dignity and belonging at our school.”

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