Antisemitic graffiti was discovered at a public high school in Cobb County, Georgia for the second time during the High Holidays, as Georgia’s Democratic senator Jon Ossoff invoked the Jewish “passion for survival” in condemning the incidents.
On Wednesday, the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday, a swastika and the message “Heil Hitler” were found daubed behind the doors of toilet stalls in two bathrooms at the Lassiter High School in Marietta.
“Despite the time that we have spent talking to students as a class and having spent talking to students in smaller classroom settings, we did find two bathrooms where antisemitic symbols (swastikas) and antisemitic language (Heil Hitler) were displayed,” wrote Lassiter High School Principal Chris Richie to parents on Wednesday.
“I am both angered and saddened by the appearance of symbols and words of hatred in our school and community.”
Principal Richie said the school’s inquiry of the incident is an “active investigation,” and asked parents to “please reach out if your children know anything about this sickening act.”
News of the vandalism came after a similar incident at Alan C. Pope High School the Thursday prior, when “Hail Hitler” [sic] and swastikas were found scrawled in a school bathroom.
“When I first saw parents posting, I thought they were posting about Pope again,” said Rabbi Chaim Neiditch, Director of the Jewish Student Union at Lassiter High School, to a local NBC affiliate on Wednesday. “And the next thing I know it’s about Lassiter, and I thought how is this possible [that] this happens two times within a week of each other, the same exact thing,”
Rabbi Neiditch said Cobb County is addressing antisemitism in its schools without “any pressure from the outside.”
“They’re on top of this. They have this,” he said, “and they’re swiftly acting without any pressure from the outside to move ahead to make sure all the students feel safe.”
Cobb County schools have recently been grappling with “vandalism spree,” parents and school officials told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday, which has seen students destroying mirrors, dismantling soap dispensers, smearing feces on walls, and placing rats in lockers.
On Thursday, US Senator Jon Ossoff — the first Jewish senator in Georgia’s history — told Yom Kippur worshippers at Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs that the incidents should only reinforce the commitment to fighting antisemitism.
“[When] at Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia, a swastika and a tribute to Adolf Hitler are scrawled on school walls — during Yamim Noraim, our Days of Awe, no less — it must inflame in us the same passion for the survival of our people that burned in the hearts of the generation that emerged from the Shoah, and built a future for the Jewish people here in America, around the world, and in the land of Israel,” he said.
On Sept 10., after Pope High School incident, Larry Sernovitz, Senior Rabbi of Temple Kol Emeth, met with Principal Thomas Flugum and spoke to students about antisemitism.
According to the AJC, several local rabbis and the ADL Southern Division have written to the Cobb County School Board, requesting permission to speak at its next meeting.
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Author: Dion J. Pierre
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