Just when you thought you’d heard or read all of the shocking details of the swastika incident, there is more.

In their report on the story, the Los Angeles Times quoted a student who said that he has seen other anti-Semitic incidents on the Newport Harbor campus and has been a victim of an anti-Semitic action:

“I pee in stalls with swastikas written on them. I write on desks with swastikas carved in them,” Maxwell Drakeford, a 17-year-old senior, said at a town hall meeting Monday night. “I’ve had kids throw change on the floor and say, ‘Pick it up, Jew boy.’ ”

And this:

“Several Jewish students said the anti-Semitism displayed over the weekend was no unexpected spasm of hatred but the outgrowth something more entrenched — literally etched into the desks and bathrooms of their school.”

But here is the most disturbing quote:

“At least one of the students has received a death threat, the parent added.”

A death threat.

These are hate crimes, folks. Hate crimes.

So here are the questions to which Newport-Mesa residents need answers NOW:

  1. Were the desks with swastikas reported to or seen by any district personnel?
  2. If so, who saw them and which supervisors or law enforcement agencies were informed?
  3. Were the stalls with swastikas reported to or seen by any district personnel?
  4. If so, who saw them and which supervisors or law enforcement agencies were informed?
  5. Were any district personnel aware of this death threat?
  6. If so, who knew and when did he or she know it?
  7. Were any law enforcement agencies informed?
  8. Did the district notify parents of any of these hate incidents – or any others?

If the district did not follow through by reporting these incidents to law enforcement agencies, they may be responsible for the cover-up of terrible crimes. If they did not inform parents, they failed to give those parents important information that they may need or want when determining where to send their kids to school. No parent – particularly a Jewish parent – would send their kid to a school knowing that such an environment existed.

This is serious business, perhaps the most serious in all the years I have been covering N-MUSD affairs.

Newport-Mesa residents need to know the answers to all of these questions. Any district personnel or trustee who knew about these past anti-Semitic incidents but did not report them to law enforcement needs to step forward and explain why these hate crimes were not reported to them or to the community.

And to those people: You should consider resigning.

And if you need some perspective on just how serious this is, the Times also reported that, “In 2017, K-12 schools surpassed public areas as the places with the most reports of anti-Semitic incidents.”

Based on my prior experience, I doubt that the proper reporting has occurred. I make no apologies for my skepticism and would like to be proven wrong here by seeing any documentation that these other incidents were reported. Otherwise, I will continue to believe what Matt Hernandez, a 2016 NHHS grad believes. Hernandez was quoted in the Times as saying, “I’m sure this has happened in the past,” he said. “It’s just this time, someone posted it on Snapchat.”

This is not the prom draft.

Steve Smith

 

 

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