Virginia: High school apologizes for its logo that resembles a swastika

JTA — A Virginia high school has apologized for designing and distributing a logo that resembles a swastika. This is the second time this month that a school has created a logo that resembles a Nazi emblem.

Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS), north of Richmond, unveiled t-shirts and conference materials this week with a logo that the superintendent said represents “four arms and four arms standing.” But local Jewish groups and others, including a Jewish candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, instead saw it as too much of a swastika.

“We deeply regret this mistake and the emotions the logo has caused because of its resemblance to the swastika, as well as the atrocities committed under its banner,” said Michael Gill, the high school’s superintendent. , in a statement Wednesday, in which he blamed the creation of the logo on “one of our teachers,” who he said did so “without any ill intent.”

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“We unequivocally condemn everything associated with the Nazi regime in the strongest possible terms,” ​​Gill wrote.

Gill issued the apology after the Richmond Jewish Community Federation, the Anti-Defamation League, the Virginia Holocaust Memorial, the interfaith nonprofit Center for Inclusive Communities of Virginia and other civil rights groups, including the local NAACP, opposed the logo.

“We appreciate the quick and clear response from General Overseer Michael Gill,” the federation’s CEO Daniel Staffenberg said in a statement. Staffenberg added that the groups plan to meet with Gill to “make sure that the voices of Jewish students and other religious minorities are heard and respected.”

The incident comes less than a month after an elementary school near Atlanta also apologized for designing a new logo that resembles a Nazi eagle. East Side Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia is located across the street from the synagogue.

Rachel Levy, a former Jewish kindergarten teacher who is running for the Virginia House of Delegates in a district that includes part of Hanover County, blasted the high school on Twitter for its logo and said Gill’s apology was “unacceptable.”

“This is what happens when you refuse to acknowledge the existence of cultural competence and cultural sensitivity. And that your leadership lacks it,” Levy, a Democrat, wrote. “Unfortunately, things like this happen to HCPS all too often.”

Levy pointed to another recent incident in the district, in which a school board member tried to convert a Jewish teacher by saying “your eternal destiny depends” on your conversion to Christianity, and disparaged a local NAACP leader, calling her “angry.” . African American”.

The swastika was originally a symbol of peace used by the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities, but after being adopted by the Nazi regime, it is generally considered a symbol of hate. A Hindu movement in California seeks to raise awareness about non-hateful uses of the symbol.

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