Swastikas found at a New York middle school

The swastikas spotted at Pelham Middle School appeared just weeks after one was discovered at neighboring Scarsdale High School.

By
October 5, 2019 16:19
2 minute read.
Swastika on a wall (illustrative)

Swastika on a wall (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

On Thursday, Pelham Middle School officials announced that three swastikas were seen on campus, but did not specify where, according to News 12 Westchester.

Superintendent of Schools Cheryl H. Champ, and Principal of Pelham Middle School Lynn M. Sabia, signed a letter reacting to the swastikas. 

“These symbols of hate have no place in our society and especially within our schools. This behavior is deeply offensive and will not be tolerated,” the letter read.

In the letter, they said that as an “immediate response,” all students attended an assembly where the principal and assistant principal  “discussed the swastika's meaning, its dark place in our history and why the symbol remains offensive to this day.”

Following the incident, US Congressman Eliot Engel issued a statement.

“The appearance of this despicable symbol is yet another example of the rising tide of antisemitism in our country,” Engel wrote.

“Children in school should never be subjected to hate, racism, or intolerance of any kind.  All of us in the public space have a moral responsibility to make sure our words and actions are combating this hate, not fueling the fire."

Engel also praised the school administrators, saying, “I commend Pelham Superintendent of Schools Cheryl H. Champ and Pelham Middle School Principal Lynn M. Sabia for their swift and thorough response—they promptly reported the incident to the police, gathered the school community to discuss the meaning of this deeply disturbing symbol, and focused on including Holocaust education into their curriculum.”

Just over three weeks ago, a swastika was found roughly 7.4 miles (11.9 km.) away at Scarsdale High School.

In a letter to Scarsdale parents, Principal Kenneth Bonamo wrote, “If even one member of our community feels unwelcome or distressed by this incident, that is one person too many.” He said that due to the location it was “nearly impossible” to know who did it and that “it would be unfair to cast blame widely on the school community.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reacted to the Scarsdale incident in a statement on his website.

"I am disgusted by the hate-filled graffiti found at Scarsdale High School for the second time this month. In New York, we have absolutely zero tolerance for antisemitism and bigotry of any kind, and I am directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist school officials and local law enforcement in their investigation to ensure those responsible are held accountable," Cuomo wrote.

"We have been crystal clear that hateful acts – whether they be in the form of graffiti or violence – are completely unacceptable, and we will continue to call them out whenever and wherever we see them."


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