A Jewish school teacher has resigned after facing months of antisemitic harassment by one of his grade six (year seven) students who made Nazi jokes and sent him drawings of Hitler.
Morrison Robblee, 25, a humanities teacher at Nessacus Regional Middle School in Dalton, Massachusetts, started getting harassed in February 2023. It started after he revealed to his class that he was Jewish.
School officials had an intervention with Robblee, the boy, and an administrator, when the 12-year-old’s behaviour became more problematic. However, the verbal abuse continued.
In April, during Passover, the boy reportedly spouted more hatred when Robblee wore a kippah to class. He was sent to detention but once released he sent the teacher drawings of swastikas and canisters labelled "gas."
One picture he sent was a drawing of Hitler standing over a dead person labelled "Jew." Robblee also claimed the student emailed him insults about his teaching.
The child, who cannot be named because of his age, is now facing a misdemeanour charge of criminal harassment.
The district later placed Robblee on administrative leave after the boy claimed he had made a face at him. Robblee admitted to sticking his tongue out at the student after the boy swore at him.
Morrison Robblee was sent this hate-filled drawing by the 12-year-old student (Photo: Morrison Robblee)
The teacher was also accused of speaking about the boy in front of other students, though he denies those claims, The Berkshire Eagle reported.
The boy sent an apology letter to the teacher with just two words: "Sorry Jew". He was eventually suspended and removed from the teacher's class.
Robblee said he filed a complaint with his union in May, citing an unsafe work environment, and told the Central Berkshire Regional School District in a letter that the boy would “further be at risk of a deeper radicalisation of hate, one which will lead to violence".
“I am not bothered by the ignorant comments of a child,” Robblee wrote in a statement to be read at a meeting to end the boy’s suspension. “I am bothered that, without proper intervention, this hate will continue to fester.”
Robblee told the Eagle he would have been able to return to the school, with a verbal reprimand, but chose to resign. He said he decided to quit because he did not feel like administrators took his concerns seriously.
The day he quit, he said he took the keys out of his pocket, slid them across the table and said: "There's absolutely no way I am coming back to work in your school."
The Eagle reported that the district still has an investigation into Robblee’s conduct open.
Leslie Blake-Davis, from the Central Berkshire Schools District, said that the district handles incidents of hate or bias by first removing a student from a classroom for a due process probe while educational services are still provided.
She also said the district then either introduces "accountable consequences," such as detention or suspensions, or "restorative interventions," such as anti-bias training. If action is taken, parents are notified and the district will contact law enforcement if necessary, she added.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has said it was working with the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires to determine how to prevent similar incidents in the future.