MT. LEBANON, Pa. (KDKA) – Someone drew a symbol of hatred inside a South Hills middle school not once, but twice. Mt. Lebanon School District tells KDKA the incidents are now under investigation by Mt. Lebanon Police.
According to information released by Jefferson Middle School Principal Sarah Shaw, the first swastika appeared inside a bathroom stall early last week. A second one appeared this week. Both times the district alerted parents and police.READ MORE: Pa. State Trooper Fires Into Pickup Truck During Chase Through 2 States
“The swastika brings the Jewish community back to one of the darkest hours in history,” said Senior Rabbi Aaron Meyer at Temple Emanuel.
It’s a symbol that sparks terror, with no place inside the walls of any school.
“It serves as a beacon for hate, not only for anti-Semitism but white supremacy more broadly and carries historical connotations and evokes strong emotions that the young person or persons probably is only beginning to understand,” said Rabbi Meyer.READ MORE: Pickup Truck Collides With School Bus, No Serious Injuries Reported
He described the acts as attention-seeking.
“The increasingly polarized hurtful hateful actions of the adult community have only enlarged the goalposts and pushed young people who are seeking attention to go to even further extremes,” said Rabbi Meyer.
The note from the school principal said, “The inappropriateness of the use of this symbol will be discussed directly with students.” The district shared resources about discrimination and bias from the Anti-Defamation League, including “Talking to Young Children about Bias and Prejudice” and “Talking to Children About Hate Crimes.”
Rabbi Meyer hopes these acts will only further educate the students about why this symbol would upset the nearly 10,000 Jewish people living in the South Hills.MORE NEWS: Pennsylvania Weather: Some Northwestern Pa. Neighborhoods See Snow On Mother's Day
“I think the swastika is an image more likely chosen for its shock value than it is indicative of deep anti-Semitic sentiments from one so young,” said Rabbi Meyer. “And additional education is going to do more to increase the future safety of the Jewish community than any type of harsh punitive measure.”