September 15, 2020
Redwood High School
395 Doherty Drive
Larkspur, CA 94939
395 Doherty Drive
Larkspur, CA 94939
Dear Principal Sondheim,
We write on behalf of StandWithUs, an international, non-profit education organization supporting Israel and combating antisemitism. We are greatly concerned by a recent incident of antisemitism on social media allegedly perpetrated by Redwood High students. According to a news report, an Instagram account (since deleted) connected to Redwood High students compiled and posted a list of specific Jewish students in Marin County, titled “Doc naming all Tam District Jews.” They also solicited help on Instagram to expand the list of names, posted an antisemitic cartoon, encouraged others to join their group, and showed a teenager wearing a Nazi helmet.
This incident is alarming not only for its blatant antisemitic motive targeting specific Jewish minors and its recruitment of others to join in their hate, but also for its clear evoking of Nazi practice. Wherever the Nazis invaded, among their first acts was to issue a decree requiring all Jews to register and identify themselves in order to more systematically and efficiently organize their torture and murder. For instance, a 1937 decree required Jews in business to register their names and identify themselves to the government. A 1938 decree required all Jews to register their names in a prescribed manner.
We are grateful to the Central Marin Police Department for conducting an active investigation of this as a hate crime in conjunction with the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force. The StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism, in partnership with the Mizel Family Foundation, offers monetary rewards to individuals who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a hate crime against Jews or their property. Should someone come forward with such information here, and a hate crime arrest and conviction result from that information, we stand ready to provide the individual(s) with a monetary award. Attached here is a flyer that provides information about this program.
We thank Superintendent Hogeboom for condemning this antisemitism. And while we appreciate that you called this “hate-motivated behavior” and said that you “will discipline any student found to be responsible,” this response simply does not go far enough.
Just as you would react to equally alarming acts of hate against any other student group, we ask you unequivocally to identify this as antisemitism and to publicly and unambiguously denounce it as such. Your current, publicly available reaction does not reach even this minimum threshold.
In addition, your district policy CF 5137 states, “The Board of Trustees desires to provide an orderly and caring learning environment in which students feel comfortable, share responsibility for maintaining a positive school climate, and take pride in their school and their achievements.” We ask that you help restore a “positive school environment” by including antisemitism as part of any training plan and in any related professional development. It appears your student body would benefit from education on Jewish history and antisemitism. StandWithUs offers trainings and education on combating antisemitism for both students and faculty and is more than happy to work with your school remotely or in person.
Once again, we encourage you publicly and unambiguously to denounce all forms of antisemitism to show that the school has no tolerance for hate by its student body.
We look forward to hearing back from you by September 30, 2020. Thank you in advance for your prompt response to this matter.
CEO & Co-Founder
StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department
Carly F. Gammill
StandWithUs Center for Combatting Antisemitism