Northwood High School Closes Outdoor Facilities Due to Multiple Antisemitic Incidents

Northwood High School will be closing its outdoor facilities to the public beginning Saturday, March 4, as a result of four separate incidents of hate speech and antisemitic remarks posted on the school’s athletic field.

Northwood Principal Jonathan Garrick informed families of the closure via email on Thursday. Among the outdoor facilities being closed are Northwood’s athletic fields, track, and tennis courts, as well as “all other external areas of the building,” he wrote, noting that the closure does not affect MCPS-approved activities.

Garrick’s letter did not elaborate on how the school administration will enforce the closure.

A spike in antisemitic incidents has been reported across MCPS schools in recent weeks. According to MoCo360, nine separate incidents occurred over the course of a week in four different county schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Anti-Defamation League spokesperson Meredith Weisel said that the flyers located at Northwood were placed there by the Goyim Defense League, a hate group known for coordinating propaganda campaigns against the Jewish community.

The full text of Garrick’s email is below:

Good afternoon Northwood community:

As you may be aware, Northwood High School has been targeted by an outside hate group through flyers containing hate speech and antisemitic comments being posted at the same locations on our athletic fields. As of March 1, 2023, there have been four separate incidents of this hate vandalism. It is a priority of the Northwood administration, Montgomery County Public Schools safety team, and our partners in Montgomery County police to identify the individual(s) committing this hate vandalism and to ensure our students, staff, and entire community feel safe in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

As such, beginning Saturday, March 4, 2023, all Northwood outdoor facilities will be closed to community members until further notice. This includes our athletic fields, track, tennis courts, and all other external areas of the building. Additionally, the Loxford Terrace access gate between our baseball and softball fields will remain closed. This closure does not include MCPS-approved activities. We recognize and regret the inconvenience this causes for our surrounding community. However, the safety of our students, staff, and community must take precedence. It is our sincere hope that facilities will reopen as soon as a suspect(s) is apprehended or there is confidence the hate vandalism against our community has stopped.

We are asking parents and guardians receiving this message to please share it with any community members without students attending Northwood who use our facilities so they are aware. This message will also be provided to feeder schools and local listservs. If any community members have any questions, comments, or any information regarding the recent incidents of hate vandalism, please contact school administration: (240) 740-6950.

Photo: G. Edward JohnsonCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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