Confronting Antisemitism In Our Schools: An Action Plan for Students of Independent Schools

A Toolkit for Students of Independent Schools 

Students walking and talking

As a Jewish independent school student, you have unique opportunities to positively impact your school community, making it a more inclusive place for Jewish students. We hope this toolkit will give you some ideas of actions to counter antisemitism, celebrate Jewish culture and traditions, and support your fellow Jewish students in your school. Please know that we at AJC are here to help you! Be in touch any time at

Did you know?

In May 2023, the federal government issued the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. This strategy has a lot in it that applies to school spaces, including independent schools. Below, we’ll tell you about some critical pieces of the National Strategy related to independent school spaces and how you can use them to make positive changes in your school.

Your voice matters more than ever!

The National Strategy says your schools should be working to “be more inclusive of Jewish and other religious identities.” Here are some suggestions of how you can help your school fulfill this recommendation:

Creating spaces for Jewish students:

  • Does your school have a Jewish affinity group? If not, could you create one? Talk to your advisor or the student activities coordinator and ask! 
  • If your school already has a Jewish affinity group, think about what the school could do to make it even more successful. What might you suggest?

Building understanding of Jews in your school community as well as allyship between Jewish students and other groups:

  • Work with other student affinity groups and clubs at your school to set up joint activities and projects to build stronger connections between the groups.
  • Advocate for cultural, social, and/or educational programs that teach the whole school community about Jewish culture, heritage, and peoplehood. For example, organize a schoolwide student Shabbat dinner, a Hanukkah menorah lighting, or an assembly that teaches about antisemitism.  
  • Write an op-ed piece for your school newspaper about an issue of concern to you as a Jewish student, whether it be about antisemitism, Israel, or something else.

The National Strategy says that schools should work “to improve awareness of religious cultures and practices and accommodation of religious observances, including Jewish observances,” and ensure that “Jewish students feel included on campus.” Here are some suggestions of how you can help your school fulfill this recommendation:

  • Share this guide to Jewish religion and culture with your school administration to help your school plan around Jewish holidays and become better acquainted with key Jewish cultural practices. Jewish holidays should be included if your school includes religious holidays in its calendar. 
  • Note that your school should respect when Jewish holidays or observances conflict with a school event, exam, project, or assignment. If this is ever challenged, you and your parents should feel empowered to engage with your administration to correct it. 

The National Strategy says that schools should have “a clear and transparent mechanism for students to report hate incidents and acts of antisemitism.” 

  • Most independent schools have policies about how to report incidents of hate. The National Strategy calls upon schools to ensure those policies are clear and easy for students to access and understand. 
  • If your school hasn’t clarified how to report incidents of hate, including antisemitism,  speak to an advisor or faculty member about the importance of presenting policies clearly and thoroughly. Students should be aware of exactly how to report an incident and how incidents will be investigated and addressed. 

The National Strategy says that schools should have, or be working to establish, “committees or task forces to combat hate on campus, including antisemitism, composed of administrators, faculty, and students from diverse ethnic and religious beliefs and backgrounds.” 

As a student, you can advocate for establishing such a task force. Try working together with other students, particularly a diverse coalition of students, to elevate your voices.

The National Strategy states that antisemitism should be part of broader Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) training and programming, specifically “mandatory training on discrimination and harassment.”

  • As a student, you should have the opportunity to participate in well-rounded DEIA programming that includes education about the Jewish community and antisemitism. 
  • If your school already holds regularly scheduled DEIA programming for students, advocate to ensure that antisemitism and understanding of the Jewish experience are included as part of the curriculum. 
  • Ask if your school can participate in celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month during the month of May. 

Useful AJC Resources:

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