D219 teacher’s Facebook hacked as an act of Anti-semitic hate speech

A D219 teacher’s Facebook page was hacked last month as an act of deliberate Anti-semitism. The Facebook page was flooded with highly offensive pictures and messages of hate speech targeting the D219 Jewish community.

The Niles North’s teacher’s personal account was hacked originally, but it was connected to the D219 Hebrew Facebook account. This is not the first time Jewish people in the community were targeted, as last semester the D219 Israeli Club received hateful, Anti-semitic messages and comments on their Instagram page. However, this has been the biggest attack of all. 

North Star News was able to interview the teacher who was the victim of the hacking. 

“I couldn’t imagine that something like this would happen to me here in the United States, here in Skokie, in our district,” the teacher said. “I consider myself an American Jew… I want to feel comfortable in the place I work, and most important for me personally, I want my students to feel comfortable in the class, in the club. It’s public school. Niles North should be a safe place, for everyone.”

The district is aware of the incident and is in the midst of an investigation with the police. 

“Depending on the infraction, we take it to levels of disciplinary consequences and ways that the perpetrator can restore the harm that they caused on a student or number of students,” Niles North principal Dr. Edwards said. “So suspensions are usually a part of it, as well as helping the student who perpetrated the harm understand the repercussions of his or her actions on our school community.”

If you have engaged in hate speech, or slurs, or think that our differences as human beings are greater than our similarities, let me assure you, you are going down the wrong path”

— Tom Moore, D219 Superintendent

D219 Superintendent Tom Moore sent out a statement to the district via email on Jan. 5, addressing the situation, as well as discouraging the use of hate speech. 

If you have engaged in hate speech, or slurs, or think that our differences as human beings are greater than our similarities, let me assure you, you are going down the wrong path,” Moore wrote. 

“For those of you who do not hold these beliefs, let everyone around you know by your words and your actions that you will not allow anyone to make your classmates feel as if they are under attack. Instead, commit now, that for 2023, we will all work to uplift each other, and to make those signs on our buildings true.”

Moore is referring to the “Hate has no home here” signs that are displayed on the outside of both Niles North and Niles West. 

Rabbi Yochanan Posner is Niles North’s resident rabbi. 

“I’d really, really like to meet the person who did it because obviously, they’re ignorant and they’re making huge mistakes. And if maybe somehow, we could talk to them and have understanding, they would [realize] it was a big mistake and they wouldn’t do it again,” Community Rabbi Yochanan Posner said. “My first feeling was almost compassion for the person was so misinformed that he thinks that this was an appropriate thing to do.”

Jewish students from Niles North reflected on the situation and expressed their want for more education on Anti-semitism for proactive change. 

“[I want] awareness. I would really like, definitely, education on Anti-semitism. And to stray away from how taboo the topic is. I feel like a lot of people are just scared to talk about it,” a Jewish sophomore student said.

Our district needs to do something…we can’t keep getting emails from district…I feel like something more needs to be done, face to face.”

— NN student, senior

“Education is definitely an important step, a Jewish senior student said. “I’d like to see probably an assembly or something… And just acknowledge that these issues happened. There have been other cyber attacks on other Instagram pages, I believe. The response that those people were met with was not satisfactory.”

“Our district needs to do something,” another senior student said. “If that’s having professionals, non-biased professionals, come in and talk about hate speech, that’s a start. I feel like we can’t keep getting emails from district people and the principal because what is that going to do? It’s just an email, just words. I feel like something more needs to be done, face to face.”

The perpetrator(s) of the hacking has not yet been found, but the district is working with the police to investigate further. A subpoena has been filed to Facebook. 

If you witness or are a target of hate speech, call the D219 anonymous tip line at 847-626-2308 or contact your dean immediately.