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Swastika Found at Connecticut Elementary School

A swastika was discovered at Darien’s Holmes Elementary School on Tuesday, according to a letter sent to parents from the school’s principal.

In the letter, Holmes Principal Paula Bleakley said a “hate symbol that resembled a swastika and some profanity were found etched into the paint of the upper grade boys’ bathroom.”

The school is investigating, but Bleakley said the staff took “swift action” in informing the school community that the incident had occurred and “reminding everyone that hate has no place in our Holmes School family.”

“Our school needs to be a warm, nurturing place for each and every member of our community,” she said. “… Encounters with hostile graffiti such as what was found in our school environment can trigger anxiety and depression for students in the targeted group and can hinder students’ social emotional and academic progress.”

She added the school administration believes “many words and symbols of hate are used by students not out of malice but out of lack of understanding.”

As a result, school psychologists spent time educating fourth- and fifth-grade students “about the dangers of words and symbols of hate and empowering them to take action,” Bleakley said.

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley said Tuesday that a custodian discovered the “incomplete swastika symbol” in the bathroom.

“We know, given our most recent experiences over the past year, that the district and community are not immune to issues of prejudice and discrimination, even at the elementary level, when our children are most impressionable and, more often than not, lack full understanding of the meaning and ramifications of their actions,” Addley said.

Regardless, Addley said, “Sentiments of hate, bigotry and antisemitism have no place in any of our schools.”

He said the district and Holmes School will be following up with additional educational experiences at the elementary school level.