December 2018 -- Kislev-Tevet 5779,  Volume 24, Issue 12

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Statement from The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center

A swastika was found carved into a New Rochelle High School Bathroom stall in the Boys locker room on November 7, 2018. The school district is investigating.

We commend Dr. Magda Parvey, Interim Superintendent of CSD of New Rochelle on her letter to the New Rochelle community on November 8, in quick response to the etching of a swastika in the boys’ locker room at New Rochelle High School. The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center is here to support the school district as they move forward to educate the students on the evils of antisemitism.

 

In the wake of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia in July 2017 and at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in late October, the symbols of hatred are still evident.  November 9,  - marked  the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when over 100 synagogues in Germany were torched, thousands of Jewish-owned businesses and homes destroyed, and 30,000 men were arrested and brought to concentration camps.  From this pogrom and the horrors of the Holocaust that ensued, we learned that intolerance and hatred must be confronted in their earliest manifestation.

 

Many teachers at the high school have participated in both teaching seminars and courses we have conducted over the years and on our Holocaust and Human Rights trips to Germany and Poland.  We hope to see these teachers work together with Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi to use this incident as a teachable moment.

 

In addition, New Rochelle High School sophomores have participated in the annual Human Rights Institutes we have sponsored for the past 17 years and on November 8, seventh graders from both Albert Leonard and Isaac E. Young Middle Schools were part of our Middle School Human Rights Institute.

 

Acknowledging the incident at New Rochelle High School is just the first step in the battle to erase all forms of hatred, in this case, an act of antisemitism.

 

Again, we are here to assist the New Rochelle community.  A lesson of hate symbols would be appropriate in the context of the need for continuous instruction of students to become upstanders and speak out against all manifestations of hatred in our society.