Antisemitic graffiti found at Montgomery County’s Whitman High

School officials said they found antisemitic graffiti in front of a Bethesda, Maryland, high school just after 8 a.m. Saturday.

Walt Whitman High School Principal Dr. Robert Dodd said in a letter to the community that the hateful words were seen on the Montgomery County school’s sign.

The vandalism comes two days before the first day of Hanukkah.

Montgomery County police are investigating the act of vandalism, which officials said is part of an alarming local trend.

“This behavior is abhorrent, extremely hurtful, and will not be tolerated at Walt Whitman High School,” Dodd wrote in his letter.

Dodd added that if a student is found to be a perpetrator, they will be disciplined in accordance with the school’s memorandum of understanding with local police, and the school district’s student code of conduct.

Superintendent of Montgomery County schools Monifa McKnight said in a statement the school system was “deeply disturbed and saddened by the antisemitic graffiti.”

“This hurtful behavior, along with any acts of discrimination, have no place in our school community and will not be tolerated,” McKnight said.

In another statement, Chief of Police Marcus Jones said “Acts of hate and bigotry are on the rise across the country and in Montgomery County. Antisemitism and any forms of hate (or) bias are not welcome in our community.”

Chief Jones said his department is coordinating with the Anti-Defamation League as part of its ongoing investigation and is increasing patrols near the county’s community centers, schools and places of worship.

The incident at Whitman High is part of a disturbing trend of antisemitic graffiti in the D.C. region. A shopping center in Chantilly, Virginia, was tagged earlier this month with white supremacist symbols and phrases.

Two separate incidents of antisemitic graffiti took place in Montgomery County last month, including swastikas found near Old Georgetown Road and Tuckerman Lane, as well as along the Bethesda Trolley Trail, which was also spray-painted with swastikas and white power symbols in August.

Antisemitic flyers were also seen on doorsteps throughout D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood in November.

In response to the most recent graffiti, the Anti-Defamation League of D.C., the American Jewish Committee of D.C., the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington released a joint statement, expressing anger and disgust.

“Let us continue to speak out against all forms of hatred, especially in our children’s learning environments, which should be places of physical and emotional safety, mutual respect, and decency,” the statement said.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell, Tadiwos Abedje and Ivy Lyons contributed to this report.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up