For the third time in recent weeks, swastikas have been found on Katonah-Lewisboro school property.
In the latest incident, which occurred Tuesday, Jan. 24, a student reported the presence of swastikas drawn on two seats in a school bus that travels only to private schools, according to Katonah-Lewisboro School District officials. Police were immediately notified and have commenced an investigation.
The first event involved graffiti, including swastikas, found on the playground at Lewisboro Elementary School during the schools’ winter break. Police determined who was responsible for that graffiti.
The second event occurred Thursday, Jan. 19, when swastikas were found on a tree on the John Jay High School campus. Police are currently investigating that incident.
Superintendent Andrew Selesnick said in a press release that KLSD is taking steps to work with other resources in the community to confront this “deeply troubling” sequence of events.
“Spreading awareness is the first step,” Selesnick said in a press release. “It is important that the entire community be aware of what has happened and how we’ve responded so far.”
Selesnick and school principals have met with representatives of the Katonah-Lewisboro’s s interfaith council to open a dialogue about how they can work together in support of the children and the community they serve. Administrators have also been in communication with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to understand the resources they have available for schools and communities to stand up against hatred.
Selesnick shared a document from the ADL with the school community about the history and impact of the swastika, and requested that families have a conversation about the importance of standing together against this symbol and the hatred it represents.
“I ask all to think of these recent events as a challenge not just to those of us who work and study in the schools, but to our community as a whole,” said Superintendent Selesnick. “I commit to you that we will do what we can, within the walls of the schools, to help students understand the awful power and legacy of that symbol. The work of combating hatred doesn’t end with the school day or at the perimeters of school property. The work of inspiring compassion and respect is work for us all.”
In the coming weeks KLSD will extend an invitation to members of the community for further conversation on this topic.