NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo has sent the following letter to members of the New Rochelle Interreligious Council in the wake of recent incidents of Swastikas found at two schools:
Dear Rabbi Weiner and Members of the Interreligious Council,
I regret to have to inform you that multiple swastikas have been found in our schools over the past several weeks. The symbols were immediately removed. We recognize this type of graffiti as an act of hate and that anti-Semitism is on the rise both in the county and nationally.
As we work to address this issue by identifying those responsible so that they may face appropriate consequences, we remain committed to addressing the underlying social and emotional issues that would cause a student to act out in this disturbing fashion. We also seek to partner with organizations that may help us heal as a community. National tensions have been escalating and many groups have been targeted in deplorable ways. African American, Latinx, LGBTQ, Jewish and Muslims communities have been exposed to increased vitriol in recent years.
As a school district, we are committed to a safe and nurturing school environment. To that end, I have begun conversations with Holocaust and Human Right Education Center. We hope to have a workshop/community gathering at NRHS in early 2020 to help address how we, the adults, can impact the tone and tenor of our children’s dialogue. We are role models for our children and students and we must help them navigate these tense times, both locally and nationally. As more details emerge about this community event and the partners who will help us frame and manage content, we will be sure to share it with you.
The district recognizes you are religious leaders in New Rochelle with unique access to a large cross section of our students and their families. I hope that we will be able to work together in the near future to create systems of support for our students in and out of the classroom and provide positive collaborative modeling for young impressionable students who seek to learn from all of the adults in the room.
Dr. Laura Feijóo
Superintendent of Schools
City School District of New Rochelle