Another Swastika Found at Middlesex: School Assembly on Diversity and Name-Calling Announced

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For the second time in a week, graffiti featuring a swastika was found at Middlesex Middle School, this time in a restroom stall, school Principal Shelley Somers announced in an email to parents.

The graffiti was found sometime today, Monday, in the morning. A Darien police detective took a picture and documented the graffiti, which also included a Star of David.

“As part of our ongoing school-wide Social and Emotional Learning, I am scheduling an assembly with the Anti-Defamation League,” Somers told parents.

The goal of the assembly is partly “to develop a common language for discussing issues of diversity, name-calling and bullying,” as well as to “provide a forum in which students will feel safe to speak out about issues of diversity, bullying and name-calling.”

On Monday morning, Sept. 9, graffiti with three swastikas was found, made by crayon on a first-floor outside window at the school.

“The ADL has also provided me with a lesson plan and activities discussing hate symbols, and anti-Semitism,” Somers wrote in her email, “which I have presented to the Advisory Committee for immediate implementation.”

  • DARIENITE.COM EDITORIAL: We feel the attention will increase this kind of graffiti with Nazi symbols, which we can remember from our own time in school 40 and more years ago (and we hope we’re proven wrong). The same childish impulse to say something rude with graffiti is only encouraged when it’s publicized, but sometimes we have to give the public what it wants, and on a rare occasion incidents like these might be a prelude to something worse than graffiti. It’s also true that the school assembly described by Somers could do quite a bit of good (even if it increases graffiti). The lack of response to similar graffiti decades ago likely also have had a cost. There are costs to nearly every benefit: We’ll have to wait to see how this turns out.

Somers’ Announcement

Here’s the full text of Somers’ email:

Good afternoon Middlesex Families.

This morning we discovered a swastika and a Star of David etched into a stall in one of our restrooms. Our school resource officer notified the DPD [Darien Police Department], and a detective was dispatched to photograph and document the incident. As part of our ongoing school-wide Social and Emotional Learning, I am scheduling an assembly with the Anti-Defamation League focused on the following goals:

  • To develop a common language for discussing issues of diversity, name-calling and bullying
  • To increase students’ awareness of the dynamics of name-calling and bullying incidents by understanding the different roles people play and the behaviors associated with each
  • To provide a forum in which students will feel safe to speak out about issues of diversity, bullying and name-calling

The ADL has also provided me with a lesson plan and activities discussing hate symbols, and anti-Semitism, which I have presented to the Advisory Committee for immediate implementation.

I feel that our collaboration with the DPD and our plans to inform and educate our students will put an end to these intolerable acts.

Shelley

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