GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo — Multiple students at Campus Middle School will face discipline after drawing swastikas on their arms following a presentation about the Holocaust last week, according to an e-mail sent to school families by the principal on Monday.
“This creates an unacceptable environment of intolerance and exclusion in our school community,” Campus principal Lissa Staal wrote to parents, asking them for their help addressing the behaviors in the student community.
The letter didn’t specify the discipline the students will face after drawing the hateful symbols. A grassroots watchdog group, StopAntisemitism, shared a photo of the swastikas via social media on Monday, calling on the school district and community to intervene. By Tuesday morning the post had more than 200 retweets on Twitter.
“We take matters like this very seriously and do not tolerate antisemitic or any hate-motivated actions or words,” Lauren Snell, a spokeswoman for Cherry Creek Schools, wrote to 9NEWS on Tuesday morning.
Staal told parents that the conduct would be addressed during a presentation planned for this week called “No Place for Hate Awareness Week.”
“We want all our students to feel safe to be themselves at CMS, and know they are seen, respected and valued as essential members of our student community,” Staal wrote in the letter.
Last year, the Anti-Defamation League reported 71 incidents of antisemitism in Colorado, down from 92 the year before but still the second-highest number of incidents since the ADL started tracking in 1979.
This is the full letter sent to families this week:
Dear Campus Families,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am reaching out to ask for your partnership in addressing inappropriate and concerning behaviors we are seeing within our student community. Over the weekend, we had reports of students drawing antisemitic symbols (swastikas) following our Holocaust presentation on Friday. This creates an unacceptable environment of intolerance and exclusion in our school community. When these events are reported to the administration, we address them immediately and those involved face disciplinary consequences. We are also connecting with the Anti-Defamation League to discuss additional measures that we can take to interrupt these incidents of racism in our school.
This week, we will continue to work to educate our students around the impact of this behavior through our already planned No Place for Hate Awareness Week. We are providing Advisory lessons around the negative impact and trauma that hate speech, antisemitism, anti-ableism and the use of racial slurs have on the overall culture of our school environment. We want all our students to feel safe to be themselves at CMS, and know they are seen, respected and valued as essential members of our student community.
We ask for your partnership and support with engaging in conversations with your child(ren) around these behaviors. I have included a link to a district resource you may find helpful in having these conversations with your student. I value your partnership in creating a safe and inclusive learning environment, and I welcome any questions or concerns you may have.
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