The discovery of swastikas in a school here marks the second such antisemitic incident in South Jersey this month, authorities say.
The Nazi symbols were found Thursday and Friday in a boys’ bathroom at Marlton Middle School, according to Evesham Superintendent of Schools Justin Smith.
“The phrase ‘Hitler was right’ was written next to one of them, along with a stick figure with X’ed out eyes and the word ‘Jew,'” Smith said in a letter to the community.
Investigators are reviewing video from the school to identify a possible suspect, said Evesham Police Chief Christopher Chew.
“Any form of bias intimidation or hate towards any member of our community is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Chew said in a post at the police department’s Facebook page.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina noted the incident followed the discovery on Dec. 5 of a swastika on a parking-lot sign at Adath Emanu-El synagogue in neighboring Mount Laurel. A message with that swastika said, “We are everywhere.”
No arrest has been announced in connection with the Mount Laurel incident.
Coffina said authorities “can, and do, bring charges for harassment or bias intimidation when the facts support it.”
“The real solution, however, is simply to treat each other with civility and decency,” he continued in a statement.
“We need to pause during a season that we characterize as one of ‘Peace on earth, goodwill toward men,’ and commit to practicing what we preach,” the prosecutor said.
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, a resident of neighboring Moorestown, issued a similar plea.
“We cannot fight hate if we are only reactionary. Instead of Whack-a-mole actions after the fact, we need to confront how we teach and internalize tolerance,” the congressman said in a tweet Sunday.
According to Smith’s letter, any student found responsible for the swastika would face “consequences appropriate to the seriousness of these actions.” He said any involved students also would receive lessons “through our school in understanding the gravity and hurtfulness of their actions, along with participation in restorative practices intentionally designed to deepen this understanding.”
The middle school’s staff and administration also “will be collaborating with community resources to help with increasing understanding and acceptance among all students,” Smith said.
Evesham Mayor Jaclyn Veasy condemned “any and all forms of racism in our township” and said victims of bias “know they have our complete and unyielding support.”