(JTA) – Two Boston-area high schools canceled the hockey season for their joint boys team over what faculty said was anti-Semitic comments and actions by players against a teammate.
Officials at Keefe Regional Technical School and Marian High School in Framingham, a suburb of Boston situated 25 miles east of the city, declined to give details about the behavior, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday. A letter to players from Marian High, which is a Catholic school, and their parents said an investigation found “a pattern of locker room activity” by players who admitted to participating in it.
Robert Trestan, who directs the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League, applauded Marian High for reaching out and said the team is not the only one confronting incidents of bias, the Globe reported.
According to Trestan, 2016 is on track to be a record year in Massachusetts for bias incidents, particularly in schools. The conduct, he said, has been fueled by a divisive election campaign and the spread of hate speech through social media channels that reach adults and children.
“They are seeing everything that adults see and are responding in similar ways,” he said.
In March, students from the all-boys Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury shouted, “You killed Jesus!” as its basketball team played Newton North High. The taunt stunned the Newton North crowd, many of whom are Jewish.
Three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti were reported at Newton North after the basketball game and another episode was reported in December 2015.
Last month, anti-Semitic symbols, profanities and the words “Trump 2016” appeared on a prominent rock on the campus of The Bromfield School in Harvard. Earlier this month, a swastika and the word “Trump” were found written on a blackboard at the William H. Lincoln School in Brookline.
Robert Leikind, director of the American Jewish Committee’s New England Office, said incidents of bias are on the rise.
“Anybody who cares about the health of our country needs to care about this,” he said. “It is encouraging to know that educational leaders take this problem seriously.”