Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Antisemitic Drawings Found at New Jersey Area School District for Fifth Time in Four Months

Livingston parents were outraged earlier this week when they learned that antisemitic language and/or swastika drawings were once again discovered at two Livingston Public Schools (LPS) buildings.

Within the first month of the academic year, three incidents occurred in which either a swastika or racist language was drawn on a table or bathroom stall at both Livingston High School (LHS) and Heritage Middle School (HMS). On Monday, the LPS administration wrote to parents again to inform them of the discovery of anti-Semitic language written on the corner of a table in a classroom at LHS and of a pencil drawing of a swastika found on the back of a bathroom stall at HMS.

According to the district, both incidents were reported late last week, more than two months after the first three incidents occurred.

In combined statement, LPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Block, LHS Principal Danielle Rosenzweig and HMS Principal Shawn Kelly informed the community that the Livingston Police Department (LPD) was immediately contacted in each case per district protocols, and both an internal and a police investigation were launched at each school.

“One of the culprits has already been identified, and we believe we are close to identifying the culprit in the other investigation as well,” they said. “Any student who is identified as having defaced school property, particularly with racist words and symbols, will be addressed by the school through a combination of discipline, education, and counseling. In addition, students who have committed these acts will be subject to other consequences implemented by the LPD.”

Ongoing responses to such incidents include:

Informing the school community of the acts and encouraging discussion about hate speech and symbols and the hurt such “speech” causes to individuals and communities;

  • Consulting with outside groups with expertise in anti-hate education
  • Working with local agencies, community groups, families and organizations in hopes to bring awareness and healing to the community
  • Conducting lessons through both our academic and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs to raise awareness of these serious issues regarding hate speech and symbols
  • Creating opportunities for students to express feelings and emotions related to acts of hate and
  • Ongoing counseling for students related to these incidents

“This week marks the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah,” the joint statement said. “Among other things, Hanukkah is about increasing light out of darkness.

“We are saddened, frustrated and angry that these hate filled acts have resurfaced in our schools. We also remember that when these hurtful and hateful incidents occur, the vast majority of our students and staff come together to remind us that they too will not tolerate these types of actions, and are determined to be part of the solution of creating an atmosphere of respect, and bringing people closer together. While we must take these actions extremely seriously, we cannot forget that the vast majority of our students and staff members work each day to bring ‘additional light’ into our school communities.”