Principal Lied To Punish Jewish Teacher Who Reported Muslim Student For Praising Hitler

Principal Lied To Punish Jewish Teacher Who Reported Muslim Student For Praising Hitler

A Maryland school system knowingly used false information to discipline a Jewish teacher in response to her reporting to her principal that at a pro-Palestinian walkout — which the principal called “fantastic” — students praised Adolph Hitler and called for the death of Jews.

The Daily Wire reported in January that Paint Branch High School Principal Pam Krawczel gave excused absences to students to walk out of class in protest of Israel, and praised them even after the Muslim Student Association (MSA) faculty sponsor informed her that some made violent and genocidal remarks. In response, Krawczel falsely suggested that the MSA faculty sponsor, Brooke Meshel, was The Daily Wire’s source, doxxed a child, and took a photograph of students.

As a result, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has now prohibited Meshel from interacting with any member of the MSA, impeding her ability to teach her classes.

Krawczel knew the accusation was false because MCPS itself — not Meshel — was The Daily Wire’s source. Shortly after the highly-publicized walkout, the publication filed a public records request for Krawczel’s emails on the topic. The day the emails were received, this reporter emailed Krawczel asking her for comment, explaining that the story was based on the emails she had turned over.

Nonetheless, Krawczel summoned Meshel and drafted a “Summary of Concern” memo for her file, expressing “concern about the article posted in the Daily Wire in which Ms. Meshel was said to be the source.” Krawczel ordered Meshel to “reflect on the meeting” and stated that, “per this memorandum…. you are no longer to serve as the sponsor of MSA. Do not interact with any students in the MSA. Do not post any pictures of PBHS students.”

As evidence that Meshel was the source, Krawczel cited that an unnamed collection of students told her “Meshel had provided information to the writers” and told The Daily Wire “the whole event was anti-Semitic,” neither of which occured.

The letter also relied on another statement from a student that began, “to whom it may be concerned [sic], I have been asked to provide my statement on the article from the Daily Wire which has used my photograph without my permission,” claiming it “poses a threat to our lives.”

The student’s statement claimed, bizarrely, that a stranger appeared on campus distributing signs — from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization — and that the students decided to hold them and pose for photographs though the signs were “not representative of my personal or political views.” The photo was, in fact, proudly posted to Instagram by student walkout organizers, as the story made clear.

The principal’s letter also suggested that Meshel was to blame for the article mentioning the name of the student who allegedly made the Hitler comment, even though as the article explicitly stated, it was an email from Assistant Principal Tim Bangerd, provided to The Daily Wire by MCPS, that used the student’s first name.

Nonetheless, Krawczel took the word of students over facts that she could readily verify on her own, through the article’s text, MCPS’ public records log, and her own email inbox. A copy of the memo was inserted into her personnel file and also copied to the assistant principal, Bangerd.

On February 5, a lawyer representing the teacher named David Felsen wrote to Krawczel to accuse him of knowingly misrepresenting the facts, materials obtained by The Daily Wire show.

“Meshel has ‘reflected on the meeting,’ as you required,” Felsen wrote in a letter. “Meshel was not the source of the information. MCPS was, and you knew it.”

“Your January 31, 2024, memorandum to Ms. Meshel does not mention your prior knowledge that the Daily Wire had the emails through a FOIA request,” the letter said. “You allowed that knowingly false narrative to persist with the students when you met with them.”

It is “unclear why PBHS administrators would knowingly and falsely sacrifice Ms. Meshel when simply stating the truth and standing up for a MCPS teacher would have fostered community understanding instead of facilitating the rancor and pain that now exists,” it said.

It said the principal “apparently solicited” the statements from the students and “explicitly endorsed” them “as a basis for your actions against Ms. Meshel,” despite being verifiably false.

For example, “The photograph referenced in both solicited statements was not posted, provided, or taken by Ms. Meshel,” Felsen wrote. “A 30 second Instagram search indicates that the picture was posted… on ‘Mocostudentsforpalestine’ and there is a photo credit for ‘Kapturedbyija.”

The emails from Krawczel’s mailbox, included in the January article, showed that after the walkout, Meshel wrote to Krawczel to support the students.

“I am proud to have supported these students in their exercise of free speech and gathering the community in support of a cause,” her email said. “However, I did hear one comment from a student saying ‘we should bring Hitler back’ and another student say ‘Kill the Jews.’”

She encouraged Krawczel to send an email condemning to remarks, but Krawczel refused, saying “I really don’t think that it would be appropriate to send out another email to address the behavior of two students.” Instead, Krawczel wrote another email saying the students did a “fantastic job.”

The emails also show that Krawczel tasked Bangerd with “investigating” the Hitler remark. MCPS told The Daily Wire it determined that the remark was not made after the student denied it. It did not respond to a follow-up question on whether it is policy to take a student’s word over a teacher’s.

As someone who volunteered to sponsor the MSA out of idealism and interfaith respect, Meshel would have little motive to lie about the comments, and would have been well-positioned to hear them.  “Meshel did exactly what the faculty sponsor of the Muslim Student Association should have done,” her lawyer’s letter said. “She supported her students in their walkout and complimented them. She also reported hate speech. When you decided on how to handle that report, Ms. Meshel supported you. You and other PBHS staff, on the other hand, allowed a knowingly false narrative to foster.”

It said Meshel “has been ostracized by PBHS faculty and students. She has been insulted and ridiculted. Her reputation has suffered. Moreover, because of the sanctions imposed by your January 31 memorandum, she has had difficulty doing her job,” noting that she was unable to enter a classroom to perform her special ed work when a MSA member was there.

On February 1, Bangerd sent her an email rebuking her for violating the order, accusing her of conversing with a MSA member about his class schedule, but according to the letter, the assistant principal just confused two students with the same name. Bangerd had confused him with the student who allegedly praised Hitler because he had the same first name.

“Meshel was forced to suffer rebuke from a superior and the implication that she would not follow the directives of the January 31 memorandum because somebody is unable to distinguish between two students with the same name,” the letter said.

“It appears that PBHS administration has been the cause of every negative consequence of the November 10, 2023 student walkout,” in which Krawczel “violated MCPS absentee policy” by giving excused absences, the lawyer wrote.

The FOIA received by The Daily Wire shows that Krawczel knew that giving excused absences would increase the size of the purported pro-Palestinian protest by inducing students who simply wanted to skip class to join. The records contain no evidence that Krawczel followed MCPS policy, which requires the principal to notify police and make a report to the central office upon receiving a verbal or written report of “hate-bias.”

The letter from Meshel’s attorney demanded “an immediate written apology” and that “all directions stated in the memorandum must be withdrawn. Finally, a written statement must be provided to the Muslim Student Association stating 1) that Ms. Meshel was not the source of the article” and that “PBHS administrators knew, prior to publication, that Ms. Meshe was not the source of the article.”

Chris Cram, a spokesman for MCPS, did not respond to a Daily Wire inquiry about the baseless reprimand, which Cram also knew to be false because he was the one who handled the FOIA request.

MCPS has incubated a slew of anti-Semitism by teachers, including one who made a list of wealthy Jews in Maryland and called them “gluttons and thieves,” and a “DEI teacher” who claimed that Jews kill Palestinians to sell their organs. It put the teachers on paid leave after uproar, but quietly returned them to their jobs this month.

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By: Luke Rosiak

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