As a sixth-grader, Justin was on the bus to Parkway West Middle School when, out of nowhere, someone slapped him because he was Jewish. It was part of an unofficial school spirit week that started with “Hug a Friend Day,” moved to “High Five Day,” then “Hit a Tall Person Day” and, finally, on a Monday in October 2008, to “Hit a Jew Day.”
At 15 years old, most American teenagers are learning calculus, reading Shakespeare and tweeting about the most recent pop-culture trend. Their education is rooted within the walls of their high school and enhanced by their daily experiences such as spending time with their friends, playing lacrosse with their teammates or challenging their minds in clubs like USY and BBYO. For a majority of teens, their experiences are limited to their everyday surroundings.