Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Speaker Visits JMS

On Friday, JMS welcomed Mrs. Lynne Ravas, to tell her story about the Holocaust. This program was originally scheduled to kick off our sixth grade's WWII Home Front Day. However, after the anti-Semitic incident that occurred last week, we made arrangements to livestream this presentation to all of our students. Mrs. Ravas's presentation was powerful. Please ask your children about her story.

Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh for making this program possible. We are grateful for this partnership.

We are saddened and embarrassed by last week's anti-Semitic incident. Hate has no place in our school. We are better than this. We will continue to teach the children about hate, bias, acceptance, and inclusion, but we cannot do this alone. These conversations also need to take place in your homes.

We talked to all of the children about the swastika that we found in a classroom. We talked about symbols of hate and how they make their friends, teachers, and families feel. We talked about how they are unacceptable, how we all have different backgrounds, races, cultures, religions, genders, sexual orientations and abilities, and how our differences should be celebrated and accepted.

Additionally, one of our eighth grade teams met with Dr. Shaw, Ms. Deet, two JMS teachers and Rabbi Alex from the Beth El Congregation of the South Hills to talk specifically about hate. We talked about how our actions affect other students, teachers, the Mt. Lebanon community and the Greater Pittsburgh Community. We showed them the headlines from the news this week and talked about how this makes us feel. We reflected on the following:

  • Why do people hate?
  • Why can't people just let people be different?
  • "Bad things happen when good people stay quiet." - Irene Scolnick, Holocaust survivor that this eighth grade class met in sixth grade.

What can families do to support our initiative?:

  • Listen to what your children are saying.
  • Listen to how they are talking to their friends.
  • Check their phones.
  • Review their text chains and social media accounts
  • Pay attention to the language they are using.
    If you are hearing inappropriate language, thoughts, behaviors, etc. interrupt it.

Your partnership is essential if we want to see change.

Thank you to our JMS families who reached out to offer resources and support following this incident. Your kindness is appreciated.

Coming up on November 9, we will be rolling out our JMS "Your SIDE" initiative. Your SIDE stands for Your Support, Inclusion, Diversity, Education. This initiative was started by our students, and sponsored by our teachers, following the swastika incidents from last year.

Your SIDE Mission Statement - Making Jefferson Middle School more inclusive by addressing and dismantling the barriers in our community.

We are really proud of these children and are excited to kick off this important initiative. More information will be shared with the students on November 9.


Jefferson Middle School
21 Moffett Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15243
(412) 344-2120



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