MILLBURN, NJ - In an email addressed to parents in the Millburn School District, School Superintendent Dr. Christine Burton sent out an email noting that that swastikas and the letters KKK had recently been found etched into a desk in a sixth grade classroom.
This incident follows the discovery of similar markings at schools in Summit, Westfield in recent weeks and Scotch-Plains in early October. On Nov. 30, TAPinto reported the discovery of a swastika found in the boys' bathroom at Summit High School, just days after a similar incident at Summit's middle school. In early Oct., a swastika was discovered, etched on a bathroom panel at an elementary school in Westfield. A similar incident was also discovered at the middle school (Westfield) in late Nov.
Writing to parents, Burton also linked a letter from Millburn Middle School Principal John Connolly which updated Millburn parents with the steps the school took after the discovery of the markings.
"Immediately upon being made aware of the situation, the Middle School Administration investigated the situation speaking with the staff and students on that team," Connolly said. "Those teachers were asked to speak with their classes and discuss the inappropriateness as well as the history behind markings such as swastikas and KKK references. The markings were immediately removed."
Connolly added, "We have been in contact with Detective de la Fuente, from the Millburn Police Department, and made him aware of the situation. We will continue to conduct an investigation of this incident within the Middle School."
In order to educate the student body at Millburn Middle School, Principal Connolly also mentioned in his letter that he was hoping to have a Holocaust survivor come and speak to students in the eighth grade, along with other training programs for sixth and seventh grade students.
At the conclusion of her message, Burton said that the goal of Millburn Public Schools is to create a diverse and tolerant school community.
"In a time when there have been a number of similar incidents both locally and nationally, we need to continue to strive as a school community that is free from hate," she said. "We encourage families to take this time to affirm your commitment to this district goal: 'All members of the school community will treat each other with compassion and mutual respect.' We will keep the school community informed on any developments from the Middle School administration on the investigation."
Principals of Summit, Westfield and Scotch-Plains schools experiencing similar hate graffiti also sent letters to parents with similar sentiments as Principal Connolly. In all cases local police have been notified and investigations have been continuing.