Students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland staged a walkout on Thursday in response to an incident of vile antisemitic graffiti discovered at the school on Saturday.
The graffiti said “Jews Not Welcome” and was found spray painted on a sign outside the school, which is in Montgomery County only around 10 miles from Washington DC.
The student group Jews For Change staged the walkout because they felt that the school district was not doing enough to address antisemitism and to educate students on the history of the Holocaust, WUSA9 reported. The group said they believed that a lack of education was what led to the incident over the weekend.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who represents the district, said on Twitter that “hate won’t win in Montgomery County.”
“Sickened and horrified about another episode of antisemitic vandalism in our community, at Walt Whitman High School – on Shabbat and just before Hanukkah,” he said. “Sending love and solidarity to Whitman students, families, faculty and staff.”
The incident is being investigated by the Montgomery County Police Department. According to CNN, Police Chief Marcus Jones said in a statement that “acts of hate and bigotry are on the rise across the country and in Montgomery County.”
“Officers are also actively increasing patrols to include community centers, schools, and places of worship throughout the county,” he added.
In a letter to staff, parents and students, Walt Whitman High School Principal Robert Dodd called the incident “abhorrent” and “extremely hurtful.”
He said that the incident will be used to educate students about antisemitism and to “celebrate our diverse community.”
“While we are deeply disturbed and disappointed by what occurred today, it will not deter us from our collective mission to end antisemitism and intolerance and build a safe and inclusive school community where all students can thrive,” Dodd wrote.
The graffiti was the second time in the last few weeks that antisemitic vandalism was found in Montgomery County, CNN reported. In November, the Bethesda Trolley Trail recreation park was defaced with similar graffiti.