Hoeven, Colleagues Call on Department of Education to Protect Students from Antisemitism

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven joined an effort led by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) calling on the U.S. Department of Education to ensure Jewish students in K-12 schools are not subjected to harassment, discrimination, and abuse. In recent years, antisemitic incidents have significantly increased in K-12 schools, even before Hamas’ October 7th attack. In 2022, 494 incidents of antisemitism were reported in non-Jewish K-12 schools, a 49 percent increase compared to 2021.

““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” wrote the senators. “Parents should feel confident that their children’s school will be safe and the focus will be on education. 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. Parents cannot trust their students are safe if they fear school officials are key perpetrators in spreading anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“America’s K-12 schools must be a safe learning environment for all students. School officials are supposed to be the adults in the school building. They should be setting an example for our students and ensuring a safe learning environment rather than undermining it…Some schools seem unwilling or unable to uphold their legal obligations under Title VI. Therefore, the Department should use its full resources to enforce the law.”

In addition to Hoeven, Cassidy and Ernst, the letter is co-signed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), 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.), 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.). The full text of the letter can be read here.