A judge in a Feb. 9 robotics tournament was caught saying an anti-Semitic slur on camera.
The remarks took place during a student presentation at the For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League being held at Mineola High School on Long Island, N.Y. The league is for elementary and middle school students.
Students from Woodmere Middle School were presenting when one of the students from the team mentioned that the Hebrew Community of New York had purchased a church building in need of renovation. Video footage from NBC New York shows an unidentified female judge saying under her breath, “G– d— Jews.”
Yan Vilensky told Newsday that he was recording the presentation since his son, Ariel, is part of the team.
“It was a very, very upsetting and derogatory comment,” Vilensky said. “It’s not what we teach our kids.”
The Hewlett-Woodmere Public School System released a statement on Feb. 13 saying that the judge was not an employee of Woodmere Middle School and that FIRST informed them that she is no longer allowed to participate in any of their future events. The judge will apologize to the students and parents present at the competition, per the statement
FIRST confirmed that the judge, who was a volunteer, is banned from future events, saying in a statement to NBC New York that her remark was “disgraceful.”
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York/New Jersey Regional Director of Community Affairs Alexander Rosemberg said in a phone interview with the Journal that FIRST’s decision to ban the volunteer is “very much in line with what we would hope, that someone who holds these views does not have a role in shaping the minds of young children.”
ADL New York/New Jersey Northeast Division Vice President Evan Bernstein wrote in an email to the Journal that the ADL is reaching out to Woodmere “to offer help and programming.”