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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Board unanimously passes joint resolutions

Community members watch apprehensively, awaiting the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education to pass joint resolutions condemning discrimination Friday morning. According to board member Shana Segal, the board’s intention with passing the resolutions was to help demonstrate support for the school and wider community. “We are committed to the education and well being of our students,” Segal said. “That is our primary purpose and we share the belief that it is education that leads to positive and constructive change. I’m hopeful that our actions this morning will demonstrate our collective capacity for compassion, empathy, respect, and cooperation in pursuit of the safety and well being of our entire school district and community.” (Photo: Kensie Pao)

Following an emotional open forum session Friday morning, the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education is passing two resolutions in an unanimous vote to condemn the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and strongly denounce antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Middle Eastern and North African hate.

Over 25 parents and students spoke during the meeting — many voiced their disappointment with the delay in passing the resolutions condemning hate stemming from the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. 

“You’re three weeks too late on this,” said Ori Cohen, a senior at Palo Alto High School. “Why is your bureaucracy limiting something so fundamentally simple? Since the attacks, I’ve been personally targeted on school campus. I’m telling you my story, and I still see failure to act. No student should have this be their number one priority.”

According to Itai Dadon, a parent who spoke during the meeting, it was crucial for the board to take the situation seriously and approve a clear resolution to denounce terrorism and promote safety for the Palo Alto community.  

“It was very important for me, as a father and a member of the community of Palo alto, to make sure that PAUSD passed a very strong message condemning terrorism, to make sure it doesn’t come to our town, [and] to our city,” Dadon said. “It is already a little late because we’ve already seen a lot of antisemitism in our streets here in Palo Alto.” 

Board President Jennifer DiBrienza said two resolutions were passed in conjunction to address the ongoing emotional turmoil within the community.

“There’s a lot of healing to do,” DiBrienza said. “There’s a lot of trauma to work through. There’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot of bridge building. A lot of the work is the district’s work, which is really why we’re here and why we have these resolutions coming forward.”

The first resolution passed condemned the Hamas attack and antisemitism as well as discrimination, while the second resolution focused more on Islamophobia and MENA hate.

Dadon said that while there was a necessity for an initial resolution to denounce discrimination, he felt that the second resolution was redundant. 

“This was a step in the right direction,” Dadon said. “There was a first resolution condemning antisemitism and Islamophobia, I did not see the need for a second resolution beyond that. The clarity and urgency required in the moment was to condemn terrorism and make sure people understand that there is no room for hate in the community. The second resolution was superfluous, but if that’s what the community required then that’s okay.” 

Gunn senior Ella Katzir said the resolutions passed by the board don’t properly address her concerns because the issue lies therein the teachings and beliefs of the community members. 

“I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with what they [the board] said,” Katzir told The Paly Voice. “I’m glad they’re finally saying something at least, but it’s not enough. You can’t change every single student and person, so it’s just about families and what they teach their children at this point.”

According to Dadon, the board should prioritize the safety of Jewish students. 

“I hope they [the board] take very seriously any antisemitic voices that are heard in our community and take action against the students and people that voice them,” Dadon said. “It’s unthinkable that they think this [antisemitism] doesn’t have repercussions towards the Jewish students in our community.”

Paly junior and Student Board Representative Karthi Gottipati said a message encompassing all students is helpful to foster unity within the community. 

“There is no harm in addressing all the students,” Gottipati said. “There is no real reason why we should only be addressing this group of students as opposed to this other group of students. I do not think it dilutes the message against antisemitism. There is no reason why we should be putting different groups ahead of each other because that just ultimately creates a competition between groups that should be working together.”

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About the Contributors
Celina Lee
Celina Lee, Editor-in-Chief
Sophia Yang
Sophia Yang, Senior Staff Writer
Sophia Yang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice her sophomore year and enjoys running, hiking, and spending long afternoons reading.

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