Community access to all outdoor facilities at Northwood High School in Silver Spring will cease indefinitely following four recent reports of hate-based vandalism on campus targeting the Jewish community. Montgomery County Police are working to identify the parties responsible.
Principal Jonathan Garrick informed the Northwood community of the closure via a letter emailed sent to families on Thursday. The outdoor facilities being closed include Northwood’s athletic fields, track, tennis courts and “all other external areas of the building,” he wrote, adding that the closure will not include “MCPS approved activities.”
“We recognize and regret the inconvenience this causes for our surrounding community,” the letter reads. “However, the safety of our students, staff, and community must take precedence.”
No details were provided in Garrick’s letter regarding how the closure will be enforced by school administration.
The announcement comes amid an spike in antisemitic incidents reported across the school district. In February, nine separate incidents occurred over the span of a week within four different county schools—including elementary, middle and high schools, according to a Feb. 22 briefing from Superintendent Monifa McKnight.
Anti-Defamation League spokesperson Meredith Weisel previously told MoCo360 the ADL believes the antisemitic flyers found at Northwood were placed there by the Goyim Defense League, a hate group known for coordinating propaganda campaigns that target the Jewish community.
In late January, similar flyers believed to be from the GDL were deposited on the porches of over a dozen Kensington residents, and Weisel said the ADL is investigating both the Kensington and Northwood incidents in cooperation with police.
“I think [the GDL are] trying to attract a broader crowd showing up on high school campuses. It’s a newer thing,” Weisel said. “And this is something that’s very concerning, because it means they’re expanding how they perpetuate their harmful propaganda.”
In his community letter, Garrick expressed a desire to see Northwood’s facilities reopen as soon as possible.
“It is our sincere hope that facilities will reopen as soon as a suspect(s) is apprehended or there is confidence the hate vandalism against our community has stopped.”
He encouraged any community members with information regarding the vandalism to contact school administration at (240)-740-6950.