MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Swastikas were found drawn on desks at three separate Montgomery County schools this week, according to county school officials.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight revealed the discovery of the swastikas in a statement on Saturday.
While the statement did not say which three schools the swastikas were found at, a separate letter sent home to families of Silver Creek Middle School in Kensington revealed that one of the instances happened at that school on Thursday.
Dr. McKnight's statement said that in each case "students and the staff addressed the vile impact of the hateful images, worked to immediately remove the drawings, and in each case, appropriate discipline in alignment with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct was assigned."
The letter did not indicate what that discipline was.
Dr. McKnight noted that these instances are not the first his year where antisemitic images or words were found at a Montgomery County school.
In response to these instances of hate, Dr. McKnight says the county "must do more, and we will. In collaboration with advocates such as the Jewish Community Relations Council, we will continue our efforts to educate our students about antisemitism. Our schools have held and will continue to hold restorative conversations with students and staff, and schools have held community meetings to discuss incidents, but honest and forthright conversations must continue."
The Montgomery County Council released the following statement condemning the drawings:
"We are once again saddened and disgusted at the displays of hate targeting the Jewish community at three Montgomery County schools. The Council stands in solidarity with our Jewish community, and with our MCPS students and families. We share the values embraced by our schools, school leaders, and Board of Education members, which include zero tolerance for hate and dangerous displays of religious bigotry. We cannot allow schools to become places of fear. We must continue to forcibly speak out against hate and religious bigotry in all forms and continue to educate our youth about the values of inclusivity, diversity and acceptance that we embrace here in Montgomery County. The Council expresses its gratitude to MCPS and its school administrators and staff for their response and the additional steps planned to reinforce a culture of care, respect and inclusion. The Council fully supports these ongoing efforts and the MCPS community."
You can read the full statement from Dr. McKnight on the drawings below:
"Montgomery County Public Schools, Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and the Board of Education condemn all acts of antisemitism in any form. This week, swastikas were drawn on student desks at three separate schools. In each case, students and the staff addressed the vile impact of the hateful images, worked to immediately remove the drawings, and in each case, appropriate discipline in alignment with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct was assigned. More important than disciplinary action, however, is what we do in response. As we fight these repeated acts of hate, we must challenge one another to learn and understand what antisemitism, hatred, and racism are and the harm they cause. These specific three instances are not the first this year in which the Jewish community in our county and our schools have experienced acts of antisemitic hate or bias. We must do more, and we will. In collaboration with advocates such as the Jewish Community Relations Council, we will continue our efforts to educate our students about antisemitism. Our schools have held and will continue to hold restorative conversations with students and staff, and schools have held community meetings to discuss incidents, but honest and forthright conversations must continue. As a community, we must speak loudly and together against antisemitism and all acts of hate and racism. We must be inclusive and welcoming of everyone in our diverse and vibrant community. Our differences make us stronger and better and make our community an exciting place to live; there is no room for hate. To learn and to do so at high levels, all students must feel physically and, yes, emotionally safe. When they experience anxiety because of acts of hatred, they can’t be at their best in their classroom. We must embrace the work necessary to ensure our scholars are in safe and welcoming school environments. Our schools, school leaders, and board of education members stand together in solidarity to condemn antisemitism, hate, and racism—always."