Anti-Semitic graffiti becoming more common in schools, should be taken seriously, expert says

FORT MILL, S.C. — Parents are concerned after racist and anti-Semitic graffiti were found at schools in South Carolina.

The most recent incident happened last weekend at Forest Creek Middle School in York County. Channel 9 reported two other similar incidents last week, at Nation Ford High School and Fort Mill Middle School.

[PAST COVERAGE: Person confesses to vandalizing bathroom with racist messages, symbols at local high school]

“A number of the parents were calling me really upset because they hadn’t heard anything at the district level,” said Natasha Witherspoon, Moms Against Racism.

Witherspoon said she and other parents were outraged when they heard about the incidents at three Fort Mill schools last week.

School leaders told Channel 9 someone put graffiti, which included racists words and a swastika, in a bathroom at Nation Ford High.

In the same week, parents sent Channel 9 a letter from the principal at Fort Mill Middle School that confirmed that there was anti-Semitic vandalism in a boys bathroom.

Fort Mill officials confirmed that Tuesday a swastika was found in a bathroom stall at Forest Creek Middle last week.

“Graffiti involving swastikas in middle schools and high schools is a lot more common than we realize,” said Donna Tarney, education and outreach specialist with the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University.

The Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center provides Holocaust and human rights training to local K-12 schools.

[PAST COVERAGE: ‘Hateful and inappropriate’: Chester County school officials investigating racist video]

Tarney said that type of graffiti is growing at local schools and should be taken seriously.

“Everyone says the students are our future, so what’s at stake is the future,” Tarney said. “Do we like the status quo? Pretend it doesn’t exist and punish when it pops up, or do we become a proactive community, where we dismantle the power that these symbols and words hold by talking about them with one another and listening for how we build solutions together?”

A spokesperson for Fort Mill Schools said the district has diversity and character education programs at all schools.

The district is in the process of implementing a diversity committee to help guide this type of instruction in the future, according to the spokesperson.

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The district said someone confessed to the graffiti at the high school, and leaders are still investigating the other two incidents.

(Watch the video below: Local high school’s bathroom vandalized with racist messages, symbols)