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The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

SCH community responds to antisemitism

On Monday, February 26th, during assembly, Mr. Norcini informed the student body of a terrible incident: a swastika, a symbol of the horrifically antisemitic Nazi party, was etched on a desk in a tenth-grade history class.

Everyone reacted differently. For some non-Jewish students, this was another example of a hateful occurrence in the community that disappointed them, but would not affect them personally. For some Jewish students, like one anonymous senior, the effect was unclear: “I don’t know if I was necessarily affected. I have become so desensitized to antisemitism due to the current state of the world, that I didn’t feel any initial shock.” Other Jewish students, like an anonymous junior, felt that it was “really scary. But … what’s almost as scary as the symbol itself is the people who brush it off and say, ‘Oh- it was probably just a joke.’”

Jewish faculty members immediately held an affinity space for the Jewish-identifying students in the community. Students who attended mentioned how prior to the announcement they had seen many instances of antisemitism in the media, so this act of hate was not necessarily surprising. Another junior who wishes to remain anonymous said, “It feels like I see a new antisemitic incident in the news every week now. It’s always gut-wrenching, but it feels different when it happens in the same building as you.”

Teachers have remained incredibly committed to helping students work through their emotions after the events of February 26th. They too are dealing with complex feelings. Ms. McDowell, who is currently teaching the tenth grade class about the holocaust, was “shocked, horrified, and surprised” by the incident. Still, Ms. McDowell stressed that she sees the incident as a “moment to educate.” In the coming weeks, the tenth grade class will be visited by Ruth Kapp Hartz, a holocaust survivor and former Springside teacher.

SCH is offering support to Jewish students, educating the student body, and investigating the incident. The administration is working diligently to figure out more details of the incident and determine the consequences. Faculty, clubs, and councils are working together to prevent similar incidents in the future. Jewish faculty member and JCC mentor Ms. Gross hopes that in the future everyone at SCH will “understand the harm that symbols of hatred can have, not just on Jewish members of the community- but on everyone.”

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