NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New Rochelle Police are investigating yet another hate crime at a New Rochelle school.
Earlier today, New Rochelle Police responded to Albert Leonard Middle school upon a report of a swastika scratched into a table in a classroom, according to New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa.
“Upon arrival the Assistant Principal was interviewed and stated that earlier, during a science class, two students reported to the teacher that there was a swastika on their table,” said Costa. “Officers were then shown the table, which had already been removed from the classroom. The table had a swastika lightly scratched into the surface.”
Police say they were told school officials did not know how long the swastika has been there. Sources tell Talk of the Sound, school officials have known about it for days.
Youth Detectives will conduct a follow-up.
This is the fifth Swastika found in a New Rochelle school since November. Two were found in November at New Rochelle High School and now three in March at Albert Leonard Middle School.
Friday night, the District sent out a media statement, a copy of a message from ALMS Principal John Barnes to parents.
The statement is not consistent with information provided by the New Rochelle Police Department to Talk of the Sound.
New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa said on Thursday two Swastikas were found in a boys bathroom and on Friday one Swastika was found on a desk. Costa did mention a Swastika found on art work.
Last November, New Rochelle High School Principal Joe Starvaggi and Security Director Bruce Daniele told police they found two Swastikas in the boys locker room but in subsequent public statements Starvaggi and Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey said just one Swastika was found in the boys locker room at the high school.
UPDATE: City School District of New Rochelle Media Statement March 15, 2019
The following message was sent to the Albert Leonard Middle School community today in an email and robocall from Principal John Barnes:
Dear ALMS community,
On Tuesday, I wrote to you about a symbol of hate (a swastika) that was found etched into a door in our boys bathroom. I, sadly, am writing to you once more to alert you that we found two more similar symbols – one drawn on a desk and one image that was drawn on a packet of art materials.
We immediately alerted police and are cooperating with an investigation into these deplorable and vile acts. The desk and the item in the art packet were immediately removed. What’s more, the District will conduct a sweep of the entire school building over the weekend to look for any more symbols of hate, discrimination and intolerance. Any markings that are found will be reported, removed, permanently covered or rendered unrecognizable.
It appears that we are dealing with instances stemming from the copycat mentality, which unfortunately is all too common when acts of hate are given attention. To avoid fueling those potentially seeking attention, the District will be handling any future copycat incidents with appropriate police involvement, ensuring we are following all reporting protocols, and administering consequences but without repeated public notification.
Hate symbols and acts of hate have no place in Albert Leonard Middle School, or any other school, and they will not be tolerated. Anyone found responsible for leaving these marks will face significant consequences as we will enforce our district-wide Code of Conduct to its fullest extent.
Today, we held a series of assemblies where we addressed these incidents and to instill our culture of respect for all. In the assemblies, I spoke about the ways acts of hate impact a community, as we all have seen with the act of terror in New Zealand, where at least 49 people were killed in an attack on Mosques.
Please ask your children about our assemblies today and know that we have more planned. Next week, we will work with The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center to plan how to teach the history of hate symbols, anti-Semitism and discrimination. While we had already planned our student assemblies, this week’s discoveries underscore the critical need to instill students with a better understanding of the deep significance of hate symbols, and the harm caused by all acts that promote racism, discrimination, and exclusion.
On April 9th, we will work with our entire faculty on the follow-up lessons and activities to ensure that students remain aware of the impacts an act of hate can cause on our community.
These incidents do not represent the ALMS community – students, faculty, families, and staff – the vast majority of whom are caring, responsible members of our school family and who appreciate and value one another. It will always be our utmost priority that all school community members feel safe, welcome, respected, and accepted regardless of their race, religion, gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status. Please reach out to the school if you would like to speak further.
With concern, sincerity, and gratitude,