After a student in Dickinson Independent School District was allegedly targeted by her English teacher for her Israeli background, two Texas lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into the incident. 

State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston) and State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R–Friendswood) wrote a letter to DISD Superintendent Carla Voelkel, asking her to conduct a “thorough and transparent investigation of the teacher and incidents that occurred.”

Last month, Talya Hayoun, a freshman at Dickinson High School, said she walked into her English class to find a message written on the whiteboard saying, “No Justice, no Peace. Justice for Palestine.”

Talya then said that the teacher proceeded to ask her where she was from before asking her if she still had family in Israel. She responded by saying that she and her family are all from Israel and some still live there. 

According to Talya, the message on the board was not part of any lesson, and she believes it was an opportunity for her teacher to insert her political opinion about the Israel-Hamas war.

After the incident, Talya’s parents filed a complaint with the DISD police department and school principal. 

Now, the two Texas lawmakers are going further and asking the district to “take every action possible to ensure that antisemitic and pro-Hamas radical Islamic terrorism ideals are not taught and encouraged in any classroom.” 

We are outraged to hear about what occurred in your high school. This sort of language on the part of the English teacher has no business in any of our schools, let alone being directed to an Israeli student. The phrase “Justice for Palestine,” is a phrase used by pro-Hamas groups in support of radical Islamic terrorism, calling for the eradication of Jewish people everywhere. The display of this phrase in any classroom is [sic] can only be meant to isolate and harass Jewish students. The display of this phrase in an English class, of all places, is entirely inappropriate, indefensible, and likely violates current State law.

Middleton and Bonnen are also requesting a complete audit of the teacher’s instructional materials and lesson plans. 

A spokesperson with DISD told Texas Scorecard the teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave. The teacher later resigned, on December 1.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.