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Another Connecticut High School Discovers Swastikas

Connecticut_Swastika.jpg

There were two more instances this week of swastikas being found at Somers High School, a letter sent today, Friday, by the building principal to parents revealed. Last year, in January, a swastika was discovered written on a chair in the school library. Also, two Somers High School students were arrested in 2016 for causing more than $29,000 in damage to more than 40 school buses. Fire extinguishers were used to spray graffiti, including a swastika and profanity, on the pavement, police stated at the time.

After the evidence of this week’s incidents was documented, custodians removed the symbol, the letter to the school community stated. The swastikas were discovered in school bathrooms.

The administration, in conjunction with the School Resource Officer, have launched an investigation into the incidents.

“We are painfully aware of the well-documented rise of anti-Semitic acts across our country and are deeply saddened that a symbol associated with such pain and violence has been found in our own community,” Principal Mark E. Bayer stated in the Friday letter.

F.B.I. statistics show hate crimes rising in recent years. In 2018, there were 7,120 documented cases, compared to 5,850 in 2015. 

“We are both concerned and disappointed that any of our students would vandalize school property with such a despicable symbol of hatred and intolerance,” Bayer said. “As a school and district, we do not tolerate such behavior…”

Bayer noted that the school seeks to educate students around human rights issues through academic classes and school activities.

“In the last year, we have also partnered with the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center of White Plains to further educate students about the history of anti-Semitism and the meaning, purpose, and effect of hate symbols,” he said. “In addition, each year we work to achieve recognition as a No Place For Hate through the Anti-Defamation League. While we do not believe that incidents like this are representative of our larger student body, we know we must continue to find ways to engage our students in important conversations so that they are empowered to stand up against such expressions of hatred.”

The principal also called on parents to talk to their children about “the values we share as an inclusive community.”

He said parents should remind their children “that each of us has a responsibility to contribute to a culture of understanding and respect.”

Bayer asked anyone who has information that might be helpful to the investigation to contact an administrator or the School Resource Officer, Matthew Hickey.

“We will keep your name and information confidential,” Bayer said. “If you would be more comfortable sharing information anonymously, we remind parents and students of our Anonymous Alert system which can be accessed via our school website.”