Dear Editor: I would underscore the concerns raised by the Freedom From Religion Foundation about the expansion of Jesus Lunch (JL) to Memorial and Verona High Schools (Sept. 12, 2019). As a religious leader in this community with congregants who attend Middleton High School, I hear firsthand from my students about the divisions that the JL participants sowed when they returned to campus and encountered non-participants in the hallway and subsequent encounters.
Antisemitic slurs were offered to Jewish students; other non-participants were similarly singled out and felt harassed; and the divisions became a focus which distracted the students from their educational goals. These and other consequences came about as a result of one group of people boldly asserting a constitutional right but not considering any of the effects that their actions have on others.
As the Verona District makes a decision and as Memorial High School approaches this matter, they need to address this kind of toxic fallout from those who attend JL. If a goal of public education is to teach students how be responsible adults in our society, let these lessons be foremost on everyone’s minds.
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch
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