A Connecticut public school has promised to address a disturbing “pattern of behavior” after a swastika was found at the school for the second time in recent months.
In response, the Darien, Connecticut school district has brought in an outside diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, the Darien Times reported.
"Regrettably, we did have another incident yesterday of a swastika being drawn on a middle school boys’ bathroom stall,” District Superintendent Alan Addley said during a Tuesday board of education meeting. “We do recognize that this pattern of behavior has occurred too many times and it has negatively affected the schools, community and the students’ educational experiences.”
He added that he realized many community members were upset after officials had promised immediate action in September when other acts of racism occurred in district schools, including discrimination against Jewish students.
In September, an anti-Semitic statement was posted to social media.
Addley stressed that the consultant, Ken Shelton – who was chosen partly based on a recommendation from the ADL – would start as early as next week with a budget or $23,000.
“While consequences come from these actions, understanding what people need and how we can help them take priority also,” Board of Education Chair David Dineen said at the meeting.
Addley also said that a speaker chosen by the ADL – likely a Holocaust survivor or child of a survivor – will be brought in to host a school assembly or to speak to smaller groups of students.
School board member Sara Parent described the district’s schools as being in “crisis mode right now.”
She urged that the ADL initiatives should be implemented as soon as possible.
Parents also told the meeting that Jews no longer felt welcome in the town.
“Every day, something else happens that worries and scares and disgusts me,” said Joanna Walsh, a Jewish parents.
“The fact is that Jews in this town, in our school don't feel safe,” she said. “People of color don’t feel safe... and our only response has been to talk about it, and then wait until the next incident.”