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Resides of Porterville, California say that swastikas on a tree in front of a school and a sidewalk on a town street were finally removed after being there for years, Valley Voice reported.

At Santa Fe Elementary School, two swastikas were carved into a tree that was situated in a busy location in front of the school’s main building where hundreds of students are dropped off and picked up every day.

Santa Fe Elementary Principal Olga Ortiz wrote in a statement posted to Facebook that she was “very surprised” to see the Nazi symbols on school property.

“I have already notified our maintenance department about the tree to ensure those markings are removed,” she wrote, adding that the school district was also informed.

Ortiz explained that when she investigated the markings on the tree, they appeared to be “several years old.”

“Again, my deepest appreciation for notifying us about the markings,” she wrote. “These symbols have no place in our schools settings. Santa Fe Elementary breathes diversity and we pride ourselves in being the opposite of what a swastika symbol has come to represent.”

Porterville Unified School District spokesperson Jason Pommier said it was not clear how long the swastikas had been on the tree. They were informed of them last weekend.

“The Porterville Police Department is aware of it and the Tulare County District Attorney office contacted the school about it after receiving complaints from Porterville residents,” Pommier said.

He was unsure how the symbols could have been on the tree for such a long period of time without being removed.

A large swastika was also visible on the sidewalk next to a bus stop on West Henderson, where it had been carved over a year ago and still had not been removed.

“I found this [swastika] about a month ago while on a run. I have contacted numerous people to have it removed and it is still there,” wrote Porterville resident Liz Medina on Facebook. “Apparently it has been there for a year. This is disgusting and the fact that it's been there so long is troubling. Maybe if enough people call the city or Porterville police department, something will finally be done.”

Resident Shanda Patterson responded to the post, saying: “I’ve seen it there for years. I’ve never attempted to have it removed cuz I figured the city wouldn’t do anything about it. Bad track record.”

Other residents in the discussion in the “Be The Change - Porterville, CA” Facebook group also criticized the town for looking the other way and not removing hateful graffiti and symbols.

“I was born and raised. Moved to Huntington Beach, have lived her for 9 years, in process to relocating back due to my mom's health. I'm disgusted on how bad my hometown has become,” wrote Jacquie Barrios.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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