Walking the other way: L.A. students leave class to protest antisemitism

A view of the San Fernando Valley, with Woodland Hills and Warner Center in the foreground. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS) — Across the country since Oct. 7, groups of students have led walkouts during class time to protest against Israel’s efforts at self-defense. Last week, for example, students at Edison High School in Tulsa, Okla., left class to voice their opposition to the Jewish state’s military actions to upend the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.

Senior Jorge Flores said on Feb. 29, “we’re all volunteering, and we all just want to come out here and make an impact.” Other walkout protests have occurred at schools in Oakland, Boston, Chicago, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia and New Jersey.

However, students at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, Calif., left their classrooms to participate in a demonstration for the opposite reason: to raise awareness about antisemitism.

In a protest organized on Feb. 27 by seniors, dozens of students gathered outside wearing and waving Israeli flags. Signs students carried included such slogans as “Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism,” “Stand Together Against Hate” and “Unity Over Hate.”

In one such incident that inspired the protest, freshman Danielle Eshed said “he called me a ‘dirty Jew’ for laughing” before “he got up, pushed me and started punching me repeatedly in the neck and the back.”

Eshed’s family said the school is not investigating the incident as a hate crime and that the attacker has not been disciplined, though the latter claim was disputed by David Hussey, the school’s executive director.

“Maybe some students don’t know what they’re saying and what the impacts are, so it’s educating those students and then reassuring the other students that they are safe at this school,” Hussey said.