2000-12-20 / Political Page

Cohen Complains About ‘Hateful’ Yearbook Remark; New Guidelines Promised

Cohen Complains About ‘Hateful’
Yearbook Remark; New Guidelines Promised

Reacting to a remark in a high school yearbook that he found "hateful and prompted violence," Assemblymember Michael Cohen complained to the Central Board of Education and has been assured new guidelines will be issued to make school officials more vigilant in preventing such occurances in the future.

Cohen’s complaint also prompted officials at Hillcrest H.S. in Jamaica to issue a disclaimer that was inserted in the school’s yearbook.

Cohen (D), said the "inflamatory and prejudicial remark," stating, "By Allah, I will continue to fight them until Islam becomes dominant or they kill me," was written by a graduating senior who was not identified and published in the June 2000 Hillcrest H.S. yearbook.

The statement, the Forest Hills lawmaker asserted, "demonstrated an intolerance of other religious beliefs and showed a willingness by the student to actively engage in violence to justify her principles."

Cohen contacted the Board of Education to request the quote’s removal and the disclaimer was then issued.

The disclaimer stated that the school "does not associate itself with the remarks contained in its own publication," Cohen said.

"I was also informed that a petition against the remark was circulated and signed by the teachers at the school and thereafter presented to the principal," he added.

Cohen then met with Board of Education President William Thompon and won a promise from him that new guidelines will be issued to all board of Education facilities reflecting a heightened awareness and vigilance that educators must use when trying to decide what language to include within a school publication.

Hillcrest H.S. is located in Jamaica. Forest Hills, which is in Cohen’s 28th Assembly District, is covered by School Board 28, which includes Jamaica and adjoining areas.—John Toscano

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