Minnetonka school officials say anti-Semitic social media post has been removed

January 18, 2019 09:30 AM

School officials at Minnetonka High School say an anti-Semitic social media post regarding an upcoming school event does not represent the school's values. 

In an email to parents Thursday, Minnetonka High School principal Jeff Erickson said the message has been removed. 


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Because of data privacy laws, Erickson said he could not give information about the students or the consequences. 

"Our foundation as a school community is built on respect, kindness and consideration to others," Erickson said in an email. "Our work in this area is ongoing, and it is one of our highest priorities."

District superintendent Dennis Peterson also condemned the post and said there would be disciplinary action.

"Though the post was quickly deleted by the students after it came to the attention of MHS administrators, it has raised some deep concerns about why it was posted in the first place," read a portion of his letter to the Minnetonka Schools community.

"While I do not know whether it was an intentionally hateful message or was created out of ignorance, be assured the students will be disciplined for their actions. As most of you know, state law prevents sharing specific information about individual students.

"The larger issue is that we, as a community, must do an even better job of educating students about Hitler and the Holocaust. While we do units on this in middle school, and we have had several Holocaust survivors speak at MHS, it has apparently not been enough to prevent yesterday's incident." 

Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, issued a statement on the matter Thursday night.

"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is deeply disturbed by the egregious anti-Semitic image circulating on social media depicting two Minnetonka High School students using the Nazi salute and making cruel and offensive jokes," it read. "Such images both insult the memory of Hitler's victims, as well as the heroic Minnesotans who fought to defeat Nazism.

"We thank Principal Jeff Erickson for responding quickly to this matter. We look forward to working in partnership with the Minnetonka School District to support their Jewish students and families in the face of such blatant anti-Semitism.

"In Spring 2018, the JCRC organized for local Holocaust survivor, Judith Meisel, to speak to 120 9th-12th graders at Minnetonka High School. In light of the situation, the JCRC stands ready to provide additional Holocaust education resources and guidance on how to support the district's Jewish students and families.

"As we approach International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, we are gravely concerned about the lack of Holocaust knowledge amongst American millennials. According to a New York Times survey, 66% of American millennials do not know what Auschwitz was.

"We remain committed to educating Minnesotans about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism."

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