NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New Rochelle Police are investigating the discovery of two swastikas carved into a door at Albert Leonard Middle School.
“An Albert Leonard Middle School student reported to a security supervisor that two swastika’s were scratched into the boys bathroom stall door and bathroom stall wall,” said New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa.
No time frame was provided for the creation or discovery of the Swastikas.
The discovery of two more swastikas at a New Rochelle school comes four months after Talk of the Sound published a photo of what school officials later called a “4-inch swastika.” A second Swastika was found moments after the publication of the photo but in statements put out by Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey and Interim NRHS Principal Joseph Starvaggi only one Swastika was ever disclosed.
Parvey was heavily criticized for her statement at the time only saying she was “disappointed”; Starvaggi was similarly criticized for a statement that expressed doubt on whether a Swastika is hate speech.
“If this is truly a hate message, we want to address that very directly and take it very seriously,” he said. “If this is a matter of a teenager putting something up there not realizing the depth of it, then we need to do a lot more education throughout the building,” said Starvaggi.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, whose family were Holocaust survivors, was unequivocal, describing the swastika “a symbol of hatred and genocide” whose appearance “in the heart of our community is deeply upsetting, especially in the context of increasingly prevalent incidents of anti-Semitism nation-wide,” he said.
The Albert Leonard Middle School incident was reported to police on Thursday morning. The matter is currently under police investigation.
UPDATE: Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey issued the following statement in response to our report;
On Tuesday, an anti-Semitic etching (a swastika) was found in the boys bathroom at Albert Leonard Middle School. School officials immediately reported the finding to the local authorities and are working to actively investigate this act of hate. The etching has been removed.
We will not tolerate such reprehensible behavior at Albert Leonard Middle School or any school in our District. Anyone caught defacing school property anywhere in the District, particularly with signs of hate, will face significant consequences.
The school has planned assemblies and lessons in the coming days to further develop a better understanding of the deep significance of such symbols and the harm caused by all acts that promote racism, discrimination, and exclusion.
Since this incident remains under investigation, the District is unable to share any further details. However, we want to assure you that we are outraged by this incident, we understand the seriousness of the discovery and will do everything possible to prevent such acts going forward. It is our utmost priority that all students in the District feel safe, welcome and respected.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again Dr. Parvey’s statement references a single Swastika when police reports state there were two Swastikas.