Glenbrook South officials investigating yearbook quote from student ‘happy’ about Oct. 7 attacks on Israel

Glenbrook Township High School District 225 officials Friday said they were investigating a “deeply offensive” situation involving a quote that appeared in the Glenbrook South High School yearbook from a student expressing support for the deadly Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

In the statement, sent to Glenbrook South High School students and families and posted to the district’s website, Superintendent Charles Johns and principal Barbara Georges expressed “profound regret” over a piece titled “Oct. 7 War in Gaza” that was published in the school’s yearbook, Etruscan.

The piece focuses on the Hamas attack that killed about 1,200 Israelis and the war that followed.

“In my opinion, it isn’t a war, considering this has been going on for 75 years,” the student, who is not being identified by the Daily Herald, says. “The first day, I woke up and I saw what Palestine did, and I was happy because they’re finally defending themselves. The fact that the whole world only saw that instead of focusing on the past makes me sad because it’s my home country. It’s important (to speak up) because … thousands of people are dying every day. Just be aware and educate yourself.”

In their email, Georges and Johns note that the district has received a “tremendous number of inquiries and feedback” regarding the yearbook piece.

“The statements in this piece in no way represent the views of Glenbrook South or District 225,” district officials said in the email. “We recognize the feelings, fear and pain related to the content in the yearbook, and we want to assure you that we are in conversation with many students, families, staff and community members about this situation.”

Georges and Johns further note that they launched an investigation on Thursday when they became aware of the piece and will continue until they reach a resolution.

“We are exploring all options to remedy this deeply offensive and regrettable situation,” they wrote.

According to the email, members of the student services department are available to students who feel they need additional support.

Earlier this week, officials in Elgin Area School District U-46 faced criticism for halting yearbook distribution at Bartlett High School when they became aware of a photo of a group of students holding a Palestinian flag and two signs, one of which read “from the river to the sea.”

In an email to students and families, the school’s interim principal described the photo as “offensive” and said it included text that is “considered antisemitic.” In that same email, she said yearbook distribution was paused and that the photo would be removed.

Members of the high school’s Muslim Student Association collected more than 1,500 signatures opposing the decision and some spoke out at Monday’s U-46 school board meeting. U-46 Superintendent Suzanne Johnson Wednesday issued a statement that yearbook distribution would resume and that inclusion of the photo with the poster message was not in keeping with the values of Bartlett High School. Johnson, however, did not expressly state if the photo would be removed when yearbook distribution resumed.

U-46 officials did not return calls seeking clarification.

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