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April 20, 2023 2:20 pm

Swastika Scratched Into Skin of Autistic Jewish Student


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Swastika etched into the skin of a 17-year-old Jewish teenager, who is autistic. Photo: Israeli-American Council

The FBI has launched an investigation to determine who etched a swastika into the back of a 17-year-old autistic Jewish student from Las Vegas, the Nevada office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) confirmed on Tuesday.

The young man, who wears a kippah and is nonverbal, returned home from school on March 9 with the offensive symbol on his back, his mother told Jewish Press on Wednesday, and an equipment bag worn by his service dog was in tatters.

Because the school, which is administered by the Clark County School District, never installed surveillance cameras on its premises, there is little information about when and where the incident took place.

The mother has since kept her son home from school. The Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) School Watch program, which promotes safe schools for Jewish children, is responsible for bringing this case to the attention of the FBI.

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“This Israeli-American Council was appalled to learn that a Jewish teen may have been targeted in such an inhumane antisemitic attack,” Shoham Nicolet, IAC’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement shared with The Algemeiner. “We urge authorities to investigate this incident to the fullest and anyone in the community who has further information to please report it to the FBI and IAC’s School Watch.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Nevada office on Tuesday condemned the incident and announced that it is partnering with the young man’s school to establish educational courses on antisemitism.

“Not only was this student targeted for his identifiable faith, but he was particularly vulnerable due to his disability,” Jolie Brislin, regional director of ADL Nevada, said. “This incident illustrates points of intersectionality in how hate can show itself across marginalized communities.”

In March, an ADL audit of antisemitic incidents across the US found that four hundred-and-ninety-four took place on K-12 campuses, a 49 percent increase from the previous year. The total comprised 257 incidents of harassment, 232 vandalisms, and five assaults.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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