WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined 31 Republican colleagues in a letter – led by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) – urging the Biden administration to address antisemitism toward Jewish children in K-12 schools amid rising rates in the aftermath of Hamas’ deadly attacks against Israel.  

“We are deeply concerned that the Department of Education is not ensuring American K-12 schools are fostering a safe learning environment for all students following the terrorist organization Hamas’ violent attack on civilians, including Americans and Israeli citizens,” the senators said.  

“Parents should feel confident that their children’s school will be safe and the focus will be on education,” the senators continued. “Instead, parents are beginning to fear that not only is school not safe for their students, but school officials are actively working to undermine the safety of their children.” 

“Some schools seem unwilling or unable to uphold their legal obligations under Title VI,” the senators continued. “Therefore, the department should use its full resources to enforce the law.” 

In addition to Senators Capito, Cassidy, and Ernst, the following senators also signed the letter: U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). 

Full text of the letter can be found here.


Since the Hamas-led massacre against Israel on October 7, there has been a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents, including targeted harassment, directed at Jewish children in K-12 schools. For example:

  • On October 9, the Superintendent of Revere Public Schools in Massachusetts sent an email to school staff promoting resources that claimed, “Israeli terrorism has been significantly worse than that of the Palestinians.”
  • On October 17, a New York City middle school teacher and United Federation of Teachers’ (UFT) school representative sent an email to teachers’ union members deriding the UFT’s official statement denouncing the October 7 attack and calling on the unions’ retirement system to “divest from weapons and other companies that are complicit in violations of Palestinians’ civil and land rights.”  
  • Shortly after the October 7 attacks, an 11-year-old in Manhattan Beach told four Jewish girls at his school that “all Israelis and Jews should be killed.”
  • On October 18, students in San Francisco marched through the hallways of their high school chanting anti-Semitic slogans. 

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Department of Education has a responsibility to ensure schools that receive federal funds maintain a safe learning environment for students. While the administration has since announced new efforts to address antisemitism in schools, these actions do nothing to ensure schools are responsibly handling these events and working to prevent them in the first place. The senators urged the administration to use their enforcement power under Title VI to ensure K-12 schools are protecting Jewish students from harassment and maintaining a safe learning environment for all children. 

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