COBB County, Ga. (CBS46) — Pope High School parents in Cobb County say they are shocked to learn that Swastikas and the words ‘Heil Hitler’ were written in a bathroom at the school.
“This was way more intense than a harmless prank or a little bit of vandalism,” said a Jewish Pope High School parent. “This was a threat to the Jewish community.”
The incident occurred during the holiest week for Jewish people.
“I would hope it was a coincidence, but we can’t say for sure until the people who did have been caught,” the parent said.
In an email to parents on Friday, the school principal wrote that several students have defaced our beautiful school with hateful graffiti and also damaged our facilities. “As we investigate, I want to assure you that we will hold those responsible accountable to our district policies and applicable state laws,” said Principal Tom Flugum.
Cobb County School district in a statement says, “anytime students misbehave, and in this case disrespect, individual students, people groups, and their school, we find it unacceptable.”
Parents at the school and Cobb County religious leaders say they were very disappointed with the response from school leaders.
‘It is a hate crime, it is anti-Semitic, and unfortunately the school district failed to call that out,” said Senior Rabbi Larry Sernovitz of Temple Kol Emeth. “They said there was some bad activity, no, this is a hate crime, this is anti-Semitism.”
“At no point was the Jewish community specifically mentioned, the word anti-Semitism was never used. It was all very elusive language,” the parent said.
Rabi Sernovitz said he was able to speak with the principal and all the kids at Pope High School about why this was such a terrible act.
The Jewish parent whose child goes to the school told CBS46 she believes kids are too desensitized towards anti-Semitic behavior.
“I was shocked to see that my own child was so desensitized to the blatant anit-Semitism that was in his own school, that he’s just kind of written it off, no big deal. It is a big deal and all of our kids, Jewish or not, need to know that.”
Rabbi Sernovitz said Cobb County School’s had severed ties with The Anti-Defamation League, meaning the ‘no place for hate’ program was also lost. He said it was done because of the uproar around Critical Race Theory, and that students are losing out because they are not being taught what it means to say no to hate.
Parents and community leaders are calling out the ‘hate crime’ they say was committed at Pope High School in Marietta, after Swastikas’ and the words heil Hitler were found on a bathroom wall. The incident happening during the most holly of Jewish week’s. @cbs46 #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/bY9llA2tLZ
— Jamie S Kennedy (@Jamie_S_Kennedy) September 13, 2021