Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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More Swastikas Discovered at New York Middle School

Antisemitic graffiti was reportedly recently found in a Long Island middle school.

Three swastikas were reportedly found in a boy’s bathroom at Weber Middle School in Port Washington last week and on Monday.

Port Washington Police said in a statement Tuesday, “An instance of graffiti was reported yesterday by Weber Middle school administration. It is being investigated by the School district as well as the PWPD.”

The superintendent of Port Washington Union Free School District wrote in a letter to the community on Thursday, saying in part:

“I’m writing to inform you that this afternoon, a student in Weber Middle School reported to building staff that they had found a swastika symbol written on a student bathroom stall. The District immediately opened an investigation. Following the completion of that investigation, appropriate disciplinary action, if warranted, will be taken. It is of great concern to us that one of our students may be responsible for this type of deeply disturbing behavior.”

Superintendent Michael J. Hynes went on to say the district has zero tolerance for any form of antisemitic behavior and the district is “committed to taking action to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future.”

Adam Ruttner, a Port Washington parent and Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center board member, told CBS New York the news is upsetting.

“When there’s a swastika in my own town, deeply affected by it, mortified. It’s incredible to me that this is happening. I never imagined it would be happening here,” he said.

Ruttner is also the grandson of four Holocaust survivors.

“The lessons of history teach us that the small isolated events can spread to something much more vile and sinister,” he said.

The graffiti was one of the topics on the agenda at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. Parents showed up looking for answers.

“I don’t know what it’s rooted in, and that’s kind of my question. Is it just mischief? I’m at the point where I don’t want to accept that,” parent Orly Dotan said.

Bias incidents are on the rise. A recent FBI report states 10% of reported hate crimes in 2022 happened at schools and college campuses across the country.

Some at Tuesday’s meeting believe more interaction with Holocaust survivors will have an impact.

“My dad was a Holocaust survivor, so I think that hearing from either survivors or their children would be important,” Dotan said.

The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center works closely with the district and is proposing curriculum. The school board says it’s open to suggestions.

“I know that there’s further conversations happening between our administrators and other providers of curricula for this topic,” Port Washington School Board President Adam Smith said.

While video surveillance has helped narrow the investigation, the superintendent says custodians now make more frequent trips to conduct bathroom inspections, and they won’t stop until they find the person responsible.