Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Nazi Symbols Found at Long Island Elementary School

Update April 29th: A juvenile has been arrested in connection to the swastikas; more here.

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Two swastikas were spray-painted onto exterior walls at John Philip Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington, school district Superintendent Michael Hynes reported to the community in a letter sent out Sunday night.

“At approximately 6:40 p.m. [Sunday] evening, the district was notified that two large swastika images were discovered painted on the front and rear exterior facades of the John Philip Sousa Elementary School,” Hynes wrote. “The Port Washington Police and the Nassau County Police departments were immediately notified. The district is working with law enforcement to conduct an investigation and will take all appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigative process. I am outraged this has happened and will make sure we do everything we can to find the perpetrator(s).”

Hynes added that the images would be removed by the time students reported to school the following morning and that the district would be working with the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Head to educate students on hate symbols.

“The district has a zero-tolerance for offensive sentiments and places a strong emphasis on providing students with a platform to understand the values of inclusion through programs and discussions about the impacts of hate language and actions,” Hynes wrote.

The Port Washington Police District said in a statement issued Monday afternoon that it is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the perpetrator responsible, and that it is working with the Nassau County Police Department, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office’s Hate Crimes Unit and school officials.

“Once the Port Washington Police concludes its investigation, we will update the community on its findings,” Hynes wrote.

Officials from the Town of North Hempstead, including Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte, condemned the acts in statements.

“I am heartbroken, yet again, that a place where our children learn and play has been vandalized with an antisemitic symbol and one that promotes hatred and intolerance,” Dalimonte said. “Port Washington is a wonderfully diverse, yet tightknit community, that I am extremely proud of. But things like this really hurt my pride. For many people in our community, it also causes real pain and anxiety. I hope that the person or people who did this are caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have zero tolerance for intolerance.”

The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center echoed the sentiment in a statement, and said that it further emphasized a need to educate adults and young people on the Holocaust.

“Nazi symbolism and any other indicators of hate have no place on Long Island or anywhere in the world,” the center said in a statement. “Those who are responsible must be caught and be held accountable.”

The incident marks the second time in the past year where vandals have spray-painted swastikas on a Port Washington building.

Vandals spray-painted a dozen of the Nazi symbols on the inside and outside of the Port Washington Police Athletic League clubhouse in October.

“We must speak out and reject all forms of hate at every opportunity,” the organization said on its Instagram story. “We stand with the Port School District. Education is necessary at every age.”

Police encourage those with tips to contact 516-883-0500 or [email protected].