Derogatory symbol discovered in boys’ bathroom: Administrators conduct an ongoing investigation of the vandalism

Niki Gillman, Assistant News Editor

On Nov. 17, a student walked into the first floor boys bathroom in the new wing, where he was shocked to find a swastika drawn on the wall.  This student, who wishes to remain anonymous, took a picture of the hate symbol before taking his concerns first to his teacher, then to Assistant Principal Mr.  Craig Weiss.  From there, the school launched an investigation on the vandalism, and sent a letter to the community to spread the news.

“Events like this, as in most cases with incidences of vandalism or graffiti, are very difficult for us to investigate.” said Principal Mr.  Ira Pernick, who is in charge of conducting the investigation.  “Obviously there are no cameras in bathrooms, or in that part of the building, which makes this investigation uniquely difficult for us.”

In a town where a large portion of the population is Jewish, this symbol came as a shock to students and adults alike.  For the past year, Schreiber has been striving to create a more open, respectful community for its students.  Most notably, the school has taken steps to help LGBTQ+ students feel more welcome by opening a gender neutral bathroom.

“The fact that someone who drew that thinks it’s a joke to draw a swastika like other graffiti is just kind of ridiculous” said senior Rudy Malcolm.

Unfortunately, this is not the only recent act of discrimination that has come to light.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there have been more than 700 reported acts of harassment and discrimination since Election Day.  Included in these reports are numerous instances of Nazi symbols being spread throughout Jewish communities, many of which were found in New York City.

“Obviously this was a terrible, terrible occurrence, but this is something what’s happening across the country.  I just cannot believe that it filtered into the New York public schools system.  It’s just ridiculous” said junior Una Stopford.

Many students are attributing this act of vandalism to the recent election, in which one of Donald Trump’s campaigns main selling points was his nationalistic policies.

“I think this whole election cycle has bred a lot of contention, and it makes me very nervous to see something like that so close to home,” said senior Anna Cohen.  “I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is not an isolated incident.  It may be one of the more obvious incidents, but this is something that I see and hear on an almost daily basis, and I think that’s something to keep in mind.”

From here on out, the school will be taking measures to reassure its Jewish community that they are as respected in this school as other students.  Schreiber has teamed up with multiple religious organizations, and is set to meet with them after Thanksgiving to discuss the best way to approach such a sensitive issue.  Numerous letters have been sent to families in Port Washington, vowing to find the person responsible for this action.  Unfortunately, the damage has already been done.

“Though this doesn’t really make me feel any less safe, since I know that safety and respect are two different things, I do feel less respected,” said sophomore Ben Goldstein.  “I just think of this as a very offensive way to follow in the footsteps of scapegoating.  It just makes me think about the bad things that have happened in the past.”

The focus now turns to education, and specifically educating people who might find these types of actions funny.

“A big thing about this sort of hateful message being spread is about bringing education to someone who may not have known about the repercussions to a symbol like that,” said senior Logan Katz.  “We have to make sure people know the meaning behind this, but we have to educate more than harshly punish.”