Police were notified on November 11 as school administrators at Westland Middle School came across multiple swastikas drawn in a boys’ bathroom.
Principal Alison Serino promptly sent a letter home to parents indicating that one of the culprits was identified, and that there would be consequences. The letter assured parents that “this type of behavior will not be tolerated”.
Several Westland students had speculations as to why the vandalism occurred. “It all kind of happened after Donald Trump got elected,” sixth grader Miles Kessler said. “I think that was a turning point.”
Westland student Nora Kelly agreed that the crime was likely linked to the recent presidential election. “It probably had something to do with Donald Trump being elected,” Kelly said. “They probably did it to spark hate.”
Several staff declined to comment on the incident.
It is clear that this is not an isolated incident in Montgomery County, as this marks the third act of hate-motivated vandalism including swastikas in a one-month span. In early October, a swastika was found on the football field at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, as well as in various spots at Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda.
On November 14, Sligo Creek Elementary School principal Diantha Swift sent out a letter alerting parents of a message found on the wall of a boys’ bathroom: “Kill Kill Kill Blacks.” The letter echoed Serino’s tone, saying, “We are very saddened by this event.”
Meanwhile, the Montgomery County Council has drafted a resolution calling the county a “citadel of justice,” rejecting hate speech, bigotry and all hate crimes. Time will tell if this response is enough to stop the recent wave of vandalism.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Owen Hananel of Walter Johnson High School