SUMMIT, NJ - In a letter e-mailed to Summit School District parents, Superintendent of Schools June Chang has disclosed that Swastikas were found on a bathroom wall at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School "immediately before the extended Thanksgiving weekend."
Further, Chang details that "additional offensive drawings (including swastikas) were discovered on two more bathroom walls on Thursday, Nov. 29. All students at the middle school were addressed, and were informed that hatred will not be tolerated or accepted at the school."
Chang notes that the Summit Police Department has been notified and that a "police and school-wide investigation is ongoing."
The superintendent apologized for not informing the public earlier, adding "We are looking at our communication protocols moving forward."
Just last month, Swastikas -- along with other vulgar, racist and Anti-Semitic graffiti -- was found spray-painted on the exterior wall of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.
Chang's letter in full:
Acts of hate of any kind in the Summit Public Schools will not be tolerated. We take pride in our continual efforts to make the Summit Public Schools a safe and welcoming place for all of our students and staff. We value our diversity, and are serious about promoting kindness, acceptance, and understanding within our community.
Swastikas were found on a bathroom wall at Lawton C. Johnson Middle School immediately before the extended Thanksgiving weekend. Additional offensive drawings (including swastikas) were discovered on two more bathroom walls earlier today. All students at the middle school were addressed, and were informed that hatred will not be tolerated or accepted at the school. The Summit Police were contacted, and have been informed about all incidents. A police and school-wide investigation is ongoing. We appreciate our partnership with the Summit Police Department, and are hopeful that we will be able to identify the student or students who are responsible for this. Disciplinary action will be taken against any individual(s) involved in the incident.
We apologize for not informing the public earlier about the initial incident. We are looking at our communication protocols moving forward. Please rest assured parents will be contacted at the most appropriate time should any similar incidents occur.
In light of recent tragic acts of racism and anti-semitism across the country, it is important that we address this head-on, and ensure that our students know that drawings like this on a bathroom wall have serious implications and will be met with serious consequences. We are sending this letter because we believe it is important for the entire community to know about these incidents, and we encourage all Summit Schools families to engage with their children and neighbors in conversations about ending hatred and bigotry.
As a Holocaust educator, I understand the impact these incidents have on individuals and communities, and I am disgusted by the hate and intolerance demonstrated by these acts. We will continue to work with the Summit Police Department, our guidance counselors, and staff to create an environment that is accepting of ALL students, and will continue to enhance our role in delivering those positive messages to the students and staff of the Summit Public Schools.
June Chang Superintendent of Schools
Articles from 2017: