Swastikas found at Montgomery Co. school after diversity lesson

WASHINGTON — Swastikas were found on desks at a Rockville middle school a day after a hate incident was reported at a high school elsewhere in Montgomery County.

A class at Julius West Middle School in Rockville received a lesson on diversity and hate speech — and how the two intersect with society — last Friday. After that lesson, the Swastikas were discovered drawn on two desks.

Principal Craig Staton said in a letter to parents that the desks were immediately cleaned and the teacher spoke to the students about the importance of being respectful and tolerant of all.

“I want to assure the community that we at Julius West Middle School take matters of intolerance to others very seriously,” Staton wrote.

The drawings were found one day after a student at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac received an anti-Semitic text from an anonymous sender. That student’s class was studying the Holocaust. (http://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2017/03/hate-incident-reported-md-high-school/)

In November, a “whites only” sign was posted on a bathroom door at the high school. And Montgomery County police are currently investigating that incident.

In his letter to parents, Staton laid out his goal to ensure an inclusive experience for all students.

“At the school level, I made an announcement to the entire student body stating that under no circumstances is it acceptable to communicate, whether in writing or speech, in a way that offends a person or group of people. I continually remind all of our students how fortunate we are to be in a school that is rich in diversity and how necessary it is for us to embrace and appreciate cultural differences.”

The county and D.C. have been battling an uptick in hate crimes. Area Jewish and Islamic centers have been recent targets of bomb threats.

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