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NY Post
New York Post
2 Dec 2023


NextImg:NYC school hit with antisemitic graffiti months before riot against Jewish teacher, principal ‘did nothing’

Hateful graffiti — including swastikas and the words “Hail Hitler” — were scrawled near lockers inside Hillside High School in Queens, nine months before 400 teens rioted against a Jewish teacher because she went to a pro-Israel rally.

The sickening vandalism was discovered on Feb. 15, but school administrators dragged their feet on removing and reporting it, staffers told The Post.

“It was immediately brought to the principal’s attention and he did nothing about it,” a faculty member said.

With it still up the next day, worried staffers called outside colleagues, resulting in complaints being filed with the NYPD and Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, officials confirmed.

“SCI received several complaints regarding the graffiti – both “Nazi graffiti” and other profane graffiti – and the school’s response to it,” a spokesperson said.

SCI referred the case back to the city Department of Education, which finally ordered the hateful display removed.

Principal Scott Milczewski told staff he doubted security camera footage would capture the culprit, insiders said, but NYPD detectives proved him wrong.

A 14-year-old was arrested and issued a juvenile report, police said.

The graffiti discovered on Feb. 15 led to complaints that school administrators delayed its removal. DCPI

The disturbing case of unchecked antisemitism underscores what several faculty members call alarming mismanagement by Milczewski, at the school’s helm since August 2019, when predecessor David Morrison was removed after accusations of academic and other misconduct.

This week, the Hillcrest faculty took a no-confidence survey on Milczewski, with 87% agreeing he has “created a toxic environment,” and put his own ambitions — such as “cultivating a relationship” with Chancellor David Banks, a Hillcrest grad — over the needs of students and staff, according to a letter emailed Friday to Queens City Council members and DOE officials.

The 2,387-student school has an 87% graduation rate, but only 57% of grads are deemed ready for CUNY without remedial help.

The students are 35% Latino, 28% Asian, 25% black, and 3% white.

Hillcrest High School principal Scott Milczewski “did nothing about the hateful vandalism,” a faculty member said.

About 30 percent of students are Muslim, officials say. “They feel a kindred spirit with the folks of the Palestinian community,” Banks said this week.

Hillcrest is plagued by frequent hallway brawls, chaos and commotion because the principal is loath to suspend or discipline unruly teens who believe they can avoid punishment, staffers say.

The school posts a “0%” suspension rate, compared to the 1% citywide average.

“It was bound to happen,” a teacher said of the riot. “It wouldn’t have happened if we had another principal.”

Hillcrest students exchanged hateful messages on Instagram attacking the Jewish teacher in the days before Nov. 20, when teens flooded the halls to rally for Palestine and demand her firing for supporting  Israel on her Facebook page.

She attended a pro-Israel rally shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israeli civilians, launching the war in Gaza.

The disturbing case of antisemitism underscores what faculty members call alarming mismanagement by Milczewski. DCPI

One student copied the teacher’s photo onto an Instagram group chat, making it read, “I stand with genocide.” Another posted her photo under the words, “Genocide Supporter.”

The online messages promoted an in-school protest against the teacher, whose name is being withheld by The Post.

“Monday 5th period we’re holding a riot against [name redacted] — she needs to go.”

“Period 5th Room 330 So excited for [name redacted]’s raid.”

“[Name redacted] is going to be executed in the town square.”

Before the protest, stickers plastered on doors or walls read, “Zionism is Terrorism.”

The teacher returned to Hillcrest Thursday amid heavy security.

Students who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymitfy agreed the protest went too far, but rejected Sen. Chuck Schumer’s statement in a speech to Congress that targeting a Jewish teacher is “antisemitism, pure and simple.” 

One teacher said the riot “wouldn’t have happened if we had another principal.” TikTok
A screenshot from a student’s Instagram urged students to protest the teacher.

“We did not protest because she was Jewish. We did not protest anything religion-related, color-related. That was not the reason,” a sophomore insisted. 

“They saw somebody standing with a country that’s murdering innocent children,” a junior said.

He made no mention of Hamas atrocities against Israeli civilians, including babies.

Most of the kids “weren’t protesting, they were just there for fun,” the same junior said.

Asked if students felt bad about the incident, another junior replied, “No, no one does.”

But he added, “The Jewish kids feel bad.” 

Milczewski did not answer a request for comment.