Jewish teacher hides in Queens high school as students riot

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By Dan Sears

Hundreds of “radicalized” kids rampaged through the halls of a Queens high school this week for nearly two hours after they discovered a teacher had attended a pro-Israel rally — forcing the terrified educator to hide in a locked office as the teen mob tried to push its way into her classroom, The Post has learned.

The mayhem at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica unfolded shortly after 11 a.m. Monday in what students called a pre-planned protest over the teacher’s Facebook profile photo showing her at a pro-Israel rally on Queens Oct. 9 holding a poster saying, “I stand with Israel.”

“The teacher was seen holding a sign of Israel, like supporting it,” a senior told The Post this week.

“A bunch of kids decided to make a group chat, expose her, talk about it, and then talk about starting a riot.”

Hundreds of kids flooded into hallways and ran amok, chanting, jumping, shouting, and waving Palestinian flags or banners.

“A bunch of kids decided to make a group chat, expose her, talk about it, and then talk about starting a riot,” a senior said.
TikTok @itsdxvid18

Many tried to barge into the teacher’s classroom despite school staffers blocking their entry.

“Everyone was yelling ‘Free Palestine!’” a senior said.

“Everyone was screaming ‘(The teacher) needs to go!’” a ninth-grader said.

Students leaving Hillcrest on Nov. 21, a day after they rioted in the halls against a Jewish teacher.
J.C. Rice

“They want her fired.”

School administrators and the NYPD, which responded to the school at about 11:20 am, got wind of their plans just in time to rush the teacher into an office and lock the door, another educator said.

Students recorded the commotion, posting multiple videos, some set to pulsing Arabian music, on TikTok.

A TikTok video included a Facebook photo of the Hillcrest teacher.

“When a protest brakes (sic) out because a teacher stands with Israel,” a caption on one says.

Another reads, “Hillcrest high school had a riot because a Health teacher was supporting Israel.”

Most comments posted on the videos applauded the kids and jeered the teacher, one calling her a “cracker ass b—-.”

The NYPD monitored Hillcrest after the student riot last week.
J.C. Rice

Clips showed a water fountain ripped out in the hallway and shattered tiles in the second floor boys’ bathroom, which students admitted they vandalized.

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The NYPD not only sent a couple dozen cops to restore order, but tapped its counterterrorism bureau to investigate a possible threat against the school, according to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), citing officials.

“Whether it was one student or multiple students who did or said something, whatever the trigger was, something happened. And I know from my many years on the City Council that the counterterrorism task force is not engaged unless they believe it is potentially a serious situation,” Gennaro said.

At least 25 NYPD cops came to help restore order.

The teacher gave a statement to The Post, which is withholding her name for her own safety.

“I have been a teacher for 23 years in the New York City public school system — for the last seven at Hillcrest High School. I have worked hard to be supportive of our entire student body and an advocate for our community, and was shaken to my core by the calls to violence against me that occurred online and outside my classroom last week.”

“No one should ever feel unsafe at school — students and teachers alike,” she added.  

Clips showed a vandalized water fountain in the hall and shattered tiles in a boys’ restroom.

The teacher continued: “It’s my hope in the days ahead we can find a way to have meaningful discussions about challenging topics with respect for each other’s diverse perspectives and shared humanity,” the teacher said in her statement. “Unless we can learn to see each other as people we will never be able to create a safe learning community.”

The school’s deans, and a sergeant stationed at the school, finally corralled the students back into classrooms, according to sources and the NYPD.

Cops escorted the teacher safely out of the building.

Most comments posted on the TikTok videos applauded the students and jeered the teacher.

Students said kids followed and spit on her, but another teacher said that did not happen.

The hostility went further, students told The Post.

“They found where she lives — her address, her phone number, her family and everything — her personal information,” a senior said.

NYPD detectives exit Hillcrest. The counterterrorism bureau was investigating a possible threat to the school.
J.C. Rice

“I heard that some people already called her on her private phone and said some bad things.” Sources could not confirm that.

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The chaos and lockdown, which sources said lasted roughly two hours, was one of the most frightening incidents of antisemitism in New York schools and colleges since the Hamas massacre in Israel Oct. 7 sparked the Jewish state’s war with Gaza.

It follows a massive, pro-Palestinian citywide walkout Nov. 9 by some 700 NYC high school students calling for a ceasefire.

City Councilman James Gennaro said the Israel-Gaza war gave kids “a convenient excuse” to act out.

Brooklyn students were captured on video yelling “F–k the Jews!”

“When I saw the videos that came out, Hillcrest looks very bad on social media,” a mom said at the school’s PTA meeting a day after the wild tumult, raising safety fears.

“I’ve never seen this happening at Hillcrest.”

Several students face superintendent suspensions for organizing the riot.

About 25 NYPD cops raced to the school to quell the disturbance, principal Scott Milczewski told parents. Administrators placed the school in a “soft lockdown,” activating a team of staffers and safety agents trained to handle emergencies.

“There are 2,500 students,” Milczewski said. “Adults will always be outnumbered. I think that’s something we have to understand. And that’s why we’re asking you to speak to your children. We need your support with this.” 

The NYPD was called to the school again the next day, and said cops arrested an 18-year-old student for making threats over a group chat. The student was charged with aggravated harassment.

Gennaro, whose district includes the school, said the Israel-Gaza war gave kids “a convenient excuse” to act out.

“It went from a teacher just changing a photograph on her social profile to this contagion of hate being released in the halls of Hillcrest High School,” Gennaro said.

“It’s a sad commentary on the rancid hate that exists within the hearts of students — for Jews.”

Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) called it shocking that high school kids “would gang up on a teacher and harass her.”

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“I don’t know why these students are so misinformed, so intolerant and so radicalized. They don’t even know the history of the Middle East. They haven’t been taught that,” he said.

Several students agreed.

“I doubt half of them know how to spell Palestine,” a senior said.

“They just wanted to make drama about it,” a sophomore said of the teacher’s pro-Israel stance.

“Just, like, chaos. They thought of it as fun.”

Students said rumors spread that the teacher “was abusing Muslims” and had taught “it was okay that children were being killed in Palestine.” Another teacher called the accusations “100% false.”

At least three students who organized the riot face superintendent’s suspensions, the most severe punishment, said a source familiar with the incident.

Milczewski said the law forbids him to discuss any consequences for students, but that the DOE “has a discipline code and I promise you that has been followed.”

Chancellor David Banks — a Hillcrest graduate himself– vaguely touched on the incident Tuesday during a town hall meeting with Manhattan parents.

“We have our whole team working very closely with the students and the teachers at the school. But what’s happening in the Middle East has gotten a lot of emotions from a lot of people. We’re still figuring out what’s going on.”

Additional reporting by Deirdre Bardolf

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