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Anti-Israel Propaganda Discovered at Northern Highlands High School (NJ)

The following was sent to me by a number of different people: a screenshot of a question of a test given at Northern Highlands High School, in Allendale New Jersey.

As of now, why doesn’t it seem like peace between Israel and Palestine is in the near future?

  • Israel is attempting to negotiate a two-state system but Palestinians are refusing.
  • Israel’s leadership is unwilling to negotiate a peaceful two-state system and Palestinians are “losing hope” that an agreement will be met
  • All Palestinians reject anything short of being given back all land currently owned by Israel
  • The two sides have been embroiled in active war for centuries and neither are willing to relent

The person who took the screenshot was a Jewish student, who answered the question d – The two sides have been embroiled in active war for centuries and neither are willing to relent. This is not the correct answer, of course (the third option is).

Leaving aside the problem in the wording of the question itself (there is no country of “Palestine”), what is really disturbing is that the student was informed by her teacher that the correct answer was b – Israel’s leadership is unwilling to negotiate a peaceful two-state system and Palestinians are “losing hope” that an agreement will be met. This is not borne out by history or facts on the ground, which show repeated Israeli peace offers met by rejection by the palestinian Arab leadership, who have launched terror wave after terror wave.

On the school’s website, the principal writes:

Northern Highlands has a long tradition of academic excellence and the school’s reputation for scholarly achievement is complemented by Highlands’ placement of students in colleges and universities around the nation.  This is not possible if it was not for the collective efforts of our administration, teachers, staff, and parent organizations who remain dedicated to the success of our students and steadfast in providing a safe and caring learning environment for all.

Our rich academic program challenges every student to set and obtain ambitious, intellectual, and personal goals, and our extensive co-curricular programs provide physical and social avenues to match a wide range of student interests.  Northern Highlands offers many opportunities, and students are encouraged to reflect upon their passions and challenge themselves with all that our school has to offer.  It is our goal to develop the whole child so that every student can learn, grow, contribute, and flourish

I would argue that by teaching the above propaganda as fact, not only is this poisoning the minds of all students, it is making Jewish students feel they are in a learning environment that is anything but “safe and caring”, nor one in which they can “learn, grow, contribute, and flourish.”

Please join me in contacting the school to let them know it is not acceptable to spread such propaganda masquerading as a legitimate education.

Phone: 201-327-8700

School email: [email protected]

School page on Facebook

School principal on Twitter

Principal’s email: [email protected]

Updates:

1/2/2023 9:30: As an aside, I notice the principal wished all students a Merry Christmas

but no similar wish of a Happy Chanukah, for example. Given the school has Jewish students (and perhaps other non-Christian students), wouldn’t providing a “caring” learning environment involve making all feel included? (I am not suggesting the principal was responsible for the problematic exam, just pointing out something else I noticed while researching for this post).

1/2/2023 19:15: The principal Joseph Occhino responds via email:

Good morning.

Thank you for your email and for sharing your concerns.

Please know that we are aware of the situation and are actively engaged in an audit of the teacher’s curriculum. Rest assured that we have already begun looking into this matter and will address it accordingly.

Thank you again.

Joseph J. Occhino
Principal

2/2/2023 7:38: A reader received the below email from Principal Occhino, which indicates the question did not reflect the curriculum, and the teacher involved is “devastated”:

Thank you for your email.

I couldn’t agree more that there is too much hatred in our country and around the world.  It appears that this was a poorly designed assessment question and does not reflect what is in our World History curriculum.  I can assure you that our teacher is devastated by this and certainly was not looking to spew propaganda.  It has been addressed on various levels here at school.

With sincere apologies,

Joe Occhino

Although I do find it hard to believe the teacher was not trying to spew propaganda.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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