New Jersey Superintendent ‘Saddened and Outraged’ After Swastika, Antisemitic Message Found in High School Bathrooms
A New Jersey district superintendent said he was “saddened and outraged” after a swastika and antisemitic message were found in two bathrooms of a Bergen County high school, a local news outlet reported on Wednesday.
According to the Pascack Valley Daily Voice, Patrick J. Fletcher wrote in an email to the Oradell community that the incidents at River Dell Regional High School made it “clear that the turmoil taking place in our society is now inside the walls of our buildings.”
“This is not what I expect from our students or our community at large,” Fletcher wrote.
He encouraged the individual who graffitied the anti-Jewish message in a girl’s bathroom — the report did not detail the content — to take a cue from the person responsible for the swastika in a boy’s bathroom, who has since “admitted his actions.”
Fletcher noted that “even one incident is too many,” but that the community must also “remember that there are young people in our care who make horrible mistakes that have enormous consequences.” He called on the “adults in the room…[to] help those who make the mistakes and those affected by them.”
Meanwhile, local rabbi Paul Jacobson, of the Reform Temple Avodat Shalom, was quoted as saying, “[W]e have reason to believe that these are isolated incidents, and incidents that were performed out of an absolute lack of judgment on the part of the perpetrator(s), not indicators of a widespread pandemic of antisemitism in the River Dell community.”
According to the report, the police have opened an investigation.
In March, California high school students vandalized school grounds with swastikas and the message “Toasted Jew.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s annual antisemitism audit, released last month, claimed there was a 106 percent increase in antisemitic incidents at non-denominational K-12 schools last year.