The chancellor of New York City Public Schools on Wednesday told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that there have been 281 antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents within his school system since Hamas launched its attack on Israel on Oct. 7, but one case troubles him the most. 

David Banks made the admission to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education during a hearing titled “Confronting pervasive antisemitism in K-12 schools.” 

“We’ve had 281 incidents since October 7th — approximately 42% were antisemitic and 30% were Islamophobic,” Banks said. “We take every single one of those very, very seriously. We investigate and then we initiate the appropriate level of conduct.” 

But during an exchange with Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Banks admitted that allegations surrounding behavior at Origins High School in Brooklyn have “troubled” him the most. 


David Banks at House hearing

New York City Public Schools Chancellor David Banks speaks during a hearing about antisemitism in American schools on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Fox News)

Stefanik said, “In October, 40 to 50 students marched through Origins High School chanting ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Kill the Jews.’”

“In addition, an independent investigation found that a teacher who teaches global history was told by a student, quote, ‘I wish you were killed.’ Another student called her, quote, ‘a dirty Jew.’ And the student said he wished Hitler could have hit more Jews, including her,” she continued. “What disciplinary actions have been taken against those students who chanted ‘Death to Israel’ at Origins High School and against the student who harassed with antisemitic slurs?” 

Banks responded by saying that “when we have done our investigation, we have found no evidence that there was any movement through the hall saying, ‘Death to the Jews.'”

“We looked at, and I treat that very, very seriously. That was reported in the papers. We have found no evidence that that actually happened,” he added. “What we have found a wide range of deeply troubling antisemitic things that have happened at Origins High School. This is the one case that has troubled me the most, Congresswoman, I will tell you that.” 


New York City high school graffiti

Fox News Digital obtained a photograph of the pro-Hamas slogan, “Free Palestine. From the River to the Sea,” scrawled on a teacher’s blackboard at Susan E. Wagner High School in New York City’s Staten Island borough. (Fox News Digital)

“We have, in fact, suspended a number of students at that school. But currently this case now is under litigation,” he also said. “And I’m being advised not to speak to the specific things that have happened there.” 

The hearing opened with Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., calling the very need for it a “travesty.” 

“The aftermath of Oct. 7 has revealed some of the ugliest, most deprived ideas once marginalized from polite society. And our education system has failed to stop it. It’s not just anti-Israel, it’s anti-American. It’s anti-democracy,” Bean said. “Our witnesses today represent some of the largest school districts in the nation where there’s been some vile antisemitism in their districts.” 

Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., talks at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “Columbia in Crisis: Columbia University’s Response to Antisemitism” on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 17. (AP/Mariam Zuhaib)


Banks also said during the hearing, “Whenever an issue is brought to our attention, I can’t state that I can prevent every incident from ever happening. But our role as leaders is to make sure that once it is brought to our attention, that we respond in an appropriate fashion. And that is what we have been doing.” 

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