Anti-semitic message found on middle school student’s locker shocks community
“This is not just an incident, this is not an unfortunate occurrence, this is a crime and this is an anti-Semitic crime specifically and intentionally directed at Jews,” Michael Munenzon, a father of two children in Wilton’s neighboring town of Weston said.
He attended Friday’s meeting out of concern for the area’s Jewish community. He described the climate inside the meeting, in which school and community leaders heard from parents for over two hours, as “very heated and very tense.”
The meeting was held in response to the third hateful incident in Middlebrook School in the last month.
The first was on October 5th when a swastika was drawn on the boy’s bathroom wall. Wilton’s Superintendent of Schools, Kevin Smith, said the student responsible for that case came forward with the help of a parent.
One week later, there were two more smaller swastikas found, again on a bathroom wall, hand drawn in pencil, according to Smith.
On October 26th, a Jewish student found a note on his or her locker that read “Jews will burn.”
“This incident is reprehensible,” Smith said, speaking Friday afternoon alongside Wilton police and other community leaders. He went on to say, “Together we stand against incidents like these from becoming normalized and defend against being desensitized to acts of hate and violence.”
A school and police investigation into who is responsible is still on going. In the meantime, school leaders are urging parents to open up the lines of communication about these kinds of hateful acts.
“Take a few minutes this evening and over the next few evenings to remind your children of the seriousness of this situation,” Smith said.
Smith also said the town is working on putting together a plan to better incorporate education on these situations into their curriculum.
FOX61 found out, however, Wilton is not alone in this issue.
“What we’ve learned is that incidences have really increased in Connecticut, over the past year and a half maybe two years we’ve seen approximately 100 percent rise in the number of incidents reported to our office,” Steve Ginsburg, Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said.
He went on to say a significant number of those incidents are happening in schools and are anti-Semitic in nature.
Ginsburg also warned that the responsible for Wilton’s most recent incident is likely a child, making this an opportunity for education not punishment,
“It might be someone who didn’t understand the impact of their words and language and we need to be ready to forgive if that’s the situation,” he said.
The Superintendent told FOX61 they will wait and see what the situation is when they find out who is responsible before deciding what actions to take, but added safety of the school community is always a number one priority.