The popular island-wide organization FIRST Lego League that facilitates robotics tournaments for young students is now plagued by an anti-Semitic remark that one of the volunteer judges of the tournament made about the Jewish community at Mineola High School, who only served as a volunteer facility, last weekend.
In a recording that one of the parents at the event took, one of the volunteer judges could be heard saying “G-d damn Jews,” to another judge. The two volunteers were listening to a student who mentioned a building that was owned by the Hebrew Community of New York while he was giving a presentation in front of them.
“The district vehemently denounces the comments made during judging at the robotics event [last] weekend,” Dr. Michael Nagler, the superintendent of the Mineola School District, said. “The competition judges were not Mineola employees and no Mineola students were involved in the incident. FIRST Lego League is an island-wide organization that facilitates robotics tournaments and for this competition the district’s building served as a volunteer facility.”
FIRST Lego League also denounced the remarks that the volunteer judge made in front of students and parents.
“We are aware of the remark that was made at the event in Mineola,” a FIRST Lego League spokesperson said to the Mineola American. “What was said on the video is disgraceful and has no place in society, let alone at a youth school event. As such, this volunteer will no longer be welcomed back as a volunteer in any capacity for any future FIRST events. We work hard to ensure an environment of respect and equity and comments such as this will never be tolerated.”
Rabbi Anchele Perl of Chabad Mineola said that there is no excuse for what occurred at the high school.
“In reference to the event, which I actually heard about, I think there must be, when it comes to these kind of situations, there should be zero tolerance,” Perl said. “There are no excuses. It requires the person to make an apology and most importantly, not just to spend time on what was said, but immediately have a meeting or a group or invite someone in. I would be happy to come to the school and it is part of my overcoming stereotyping [program]. I think a general mistake is being made in these unfortunate incidents. We make a lot and we should make a lot about people who perpetrate it. We must be very proactive in an immediate sit-down sort of speak to explain to the students or to whoever that hate crimes, hate speech or anti-Semitic speech is a slippery slope that comes from these things.”