A map displayed during a Georgia middle school’s “Multicultural Night” that replaced the entire state of Israel with Palestine has drawn condemnation from parents and the school district.
Several Israeli and Jewish parents at Autrey Mill Middle School in Johns Creek reached out to local media after a map displayed during the school event to promote cultural awareness completely omitted Israel.
“Kids who saw this or anybody that was exposed to this last night that doesn’t even know what the story is behind all this, right now, thinks this is the map of Palestine,” one Jewish mother told a local NBC affiliate.
Fulton County Schools issued a statement Friday calling the map “insensitive” and “political.”
“This event is hosted by families and staff with the intent of celebrating different cultures and nationalities,” the district said. “We condemn the negative and extreme political agendas these symbols represent. We are investigating this incident, and will take all necessary actions to find the individual(s) responsible and hold them accountable.”
The principal, J.E. Trey Martin, also said in a letter to parents that he was “extremely disappointed and disgusted with the individuals who presented an insensitive political and geographic representation.”
The district has not provided any additional details regarding the investigation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Representatives from CAIR-Georgia and Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta held a press conference Tuesday on behalf of several students from the school claiming they’ve been bullied by other students since the controversy.
“This has put a target on the backs of young Palestinian-American kids and Muslim kids and anyone who looks Muslim at that school,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell from CAIR-Georgia, the NBC affiliate reported.
Susan Hale with Fulton County Schools confirmed that the school’s principal will be meeting privately with students and parents who have asked to talk about the topic, the station reported.
“Fulton County Schools values the different cultures of our students and communities. Throughout the year and in various forms, FCS schools hold a myriad of events that celebrate diversity, inclusivity and respect for all. FCS schools welcome the cultures and groups that make up the individual communities to participate in these events,” the district said in a follow-up statement Tuesday. “FCS district leaders and local administrators are working with individuals, parents, students and groups at Autrey Mill Middle School on a personal and individual basis, in an effort to create a better understanding of different cultures.”
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