By Kayla Berenson
CHARLOTTE – One day after an anti-Semitic note was found in a backpack at Providence High School, a group of Jewish teenagers from high schools in Charlotte met for their weekly meeting.
Providence High School junior Avery Rosen is the president of the group. She told members it is essential to report acts of anti-Semitism to their schools and reassured them the community is here for them.
Rosen said a large group of Jewish students at Providence High School proudly wore their youth group shirts and Star of David necklaces as a symbol of unity and support.
“I knew that I had to wear my shirt,” Rosen said. “Not really for me, but for whoever received that terrible and hateful note. I wanted her to know that she had a whole community of people here at school supporting her… It was reassuring to walk around and see the Jewish community standing strong in the face of adversity.”
Rosen said before these events happened, she didn’t realize how necessary it was to report these incidents.
“I told [my mom] that honestly, this wasn’t surprising,” Rosen said. “People say this stuff to me all the time. Not threatening, but anti-Semitic jokes, Holocaust jokes and anti-Semitic comments. My mom got really upset … it just made me really upset thinking about the impact my actions could have and how people could have so much hate toward anyone, but especially Jews and the Jewish community, which, I feel, is my home in Charlotte.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools did not state whether Providence High School is providing support for students affected. However, Rosen said she has felt supported by her non-Jewish peers.
“They’re always understanding and around to talk,” Rosen said. “[But] it’s sometimes hard to
explain to people who aren’t Jewish the magnitude of an incident like this.”
The hate crime is being investigated by law enforcement, according to CMS.
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rejects racism, bigotry and intolerance in all forms,” CMS wrote in an email to the South Charlotte Weekly. “Messages, language or statements that seek to divide our community are in direct opposition to CMS values and standards the district seeks to teach students every day. All potential threats are investigated swiftly by law enforcement and appropriate action taken to ensure safety and uphold the protections of applicable federal, state and local laws and board policies.”