Hayward Administrators Ignored Complaints Against Hitler-Saluting Teacher, Report Finds
In December 2022, Hayward Unified School District administrators learned that one of their teachers had been engaging in outright antisemitism in his classroom. Students reported that Henry Bens had saluted Hitler and was using a book by a Holocaust denier as part of his curriculum. Yet no action would be taken for two months.
Administrators from the school, Mt. Eden High, acknowledge they did not even read the book the class was assigned, nor did they attend any of Bens' classes or interview his students after the complaints were made. The student who led the charge against Bens was even chastised by a Mt. Eden administrator. During a meeting, the administrator claimed the student didn’t really care about Jews and that she was the one who was antisemitic. The student fled the meeting in tears.
These are just some of the findings contained in a new report on the district’s response to antisemitism at Mt. Eden. The investigation was conducted by Ellis Investigations Law Corporation.
Bens was placed on administrative leave in February, but will continue drawing a six-figure salary for the rest of the year. Other heads could still roll.
“…Corrective action is appropriate,” HUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Reiman said in a letter to one of the complainants obtained by Bay Area News Group. The administrator assured them that “the District is taking appropriate action to address the matter,” although he did not specify what those actions were.
Since the controversy, antisemitism on school campuses has only grown, fanned by the conflict in Gaza. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in the two weeks following the Oct. 7 attack in Israel, hate incidents against Jewish people jumped nearly 400%.
Read more about the allegations against HUSD and Mt. Eden and the report’s findings here.