A high school in Southern California was hit with another round of Nazi propaganda over the weekend, as fliers with Nazi symbols were distributed around the campus only days after Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss, who is the stepsister of famed Holocaust victim Anne Frank, spoke at the school.
Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the police department, said roughly 10 fliers were discovered, according to The New York Times. She added, “Nobody is claiming responsibility.”
Schloss’ visit followed an incident in which students from Newport Harbor High School in Orange County were photographed standing in front of several dozen red cups arranged in the shape of a swastika while giving the Nazi salute. After the photographs went viral on social media, the school district called an emergency meeting on March 4 to decide how to respond to the incident. In addition, some student leaders stated their intention to end hate, while others penned apologies. After Schloss spoke, she said, “I think they really didn’t think about the consequences, but I think they have learned a lesson for life.”
Katrina Foley, the mayor of Costa Mesa, whose residents attend the school, stated:
There is no place for hateful symbols of swastikas and Nazi salutes in our community. Glorifying or even joking about these symbols contradicts the values we share as a diverse community. Normalizing these symbols as a joke is dangerous. We must challenge this kind of bias. We cherish our city’s Jewish community, as well as people of all backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, genders and more. This abhorrent anti-Semitic activity is divisive, unbecoming of our community and leads ultimately to hate and discrimination.
While we take seriously and object to this hateful activity, I discourage vilification of these teens. Instead, we need to seriously address why teens in our community might think these types of hateful symbols are acceptable or funny and worthy of selfies. We must use this incident as an opportunity to work with our school district leaders to encourage schools to implement better anti-bias and anti-hate content in their curricula and in extra-curricular activities.
Costa Mesa Mayor Pro-Tem John Stephens echoed, “The atrocities of the Holocaust and the sacrifices of our World War II veterans must never be forgotten, but apparently some of our children are not getting the message. That’s a real problem. We cannot tolerate hate in our community, and we have to make a commitment to promote love and kindness in Costa Mesa.”
On Wednesday, Adriana Angulo, a spokeswoman for the school district, said leaving the fliers on the campus constituted “vandalism.” Sean Boulton, the high school’s principal, stated, “Again we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in all their forms. We will continue to be vigilant with our stance, and the care of our students and staff.”
Angulo said that a Tuesday night meeting of the school district board led to the creation of a “human relations task force,” adding that it will effectuate a districtwide plan “to determine how we can best create a more positive school culture and provide improved curriculum in our schools that will assure that the past is understood and never repeated,.”