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Human Rights Center Offers Support After Swastika Found At High School In Westchester

New Rochelle High School
New Rochelle High School Photo Credit: File

The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center has lent its support to a Westchester School District after a swastika was found etched into a bathroom door.

A four-inch swastika was found at New Rochelle High School on Wednesday, Nov. 7, prompting an investigation, school officials said. A temporary fix has been put in place to make the sign less recognized until employees at the school can make a permanent fix.

In response, the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center issued a lengthy statement in support of the district and interim Schools Superintendent Magda Parvey.

“In the wake of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia in July 2017 and at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, the symbols of hatred are still evident. Today - Friday, Nov. 9 - marks the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when over 100 synagogues in Germany were torched, thousands of Jewish-owned businesses and homes destroyed, and 30,000 men were arrested and brought to concentration camps.  From this pogrom and the horrors of the Holocaust that ensued, we learned that intolerance and hatred must be confronted in their earliest manifestation.

“Many teachers at the high school have participated in both teaching seminars and courses we have conducted over the years and on our Holocaust and Human Rights trips to Germany and Poland.  We hope to see these teachers work together with Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi to use this incident as a teachable moment.”

The incident in New Rochelle remains under investigation, and if a student is identified as a suspect, they will be subject to a suspension from the school.

According to the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, “New Rochelle High School sophomores have participated in the annual Human Rights Institutes we have sponsored for the past 17 years and just yesterday seventh graders from both Albert Leonard and Isaac E. Young Middle Schools were part of our Middle School Human Rights Institute.”

“Acknowledging the incident at New Rochelle High School is just the first step in the battle to erase all forms of hatred, in this case, an act of antisemitism,” they noted. “We are here to assist the New Rochelle community.  A lesson of hate symbols would be appropriate in the context of the need for continuous instruction of students to become upstanders and speak out against all manifestations of hatred in our society."

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