April 12, 2024
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Antisemitism Investigated in Livingston

The Livingston school district is investigating after several swastikas were found in the public schools since the start of the school year.

In the most recent incident, a swastika was discovered in a bathroom stall at Heritage Middle School. Previously, two swastikas and a racial slur were found at Livingston High School.

In a statement that was printed in the West Essex Tribune, the Livingston weekly newspaper, school superintendent Matthew Block said, “The Livingston Public Schools condemns the actions of the individuals who defaced school property with hateful symbols and words. We are addressing the specific issue of the hate-laden graffiti as we continue to work to identify those who committed the crimes.”

He went on to say that an investigation is underway in collaboration with the Livingston Police Department and described the swastikas as “small carvings on the corners of a desk or inconspicuously scribed pencil marks on bathroom fixtures.”

The Livingston Public School system has a significant Jewish student population.

Livingston’s Temple B’nai Abraham issued a statement to its congregants saying, “We were disheartened to hear of an incident of antisemitic graffiti yesterday at Heritage Middle School. According to FBI data, hate crimes against Jews constitute over half of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the country. We, and most importantly our children, and anyone’s children, should never be targeted simply for being who they are.”

Signed by Rabbis David Vaisberg and Max Edwards and the synagogue’s director of Jewish learning, Melissa Weiner, they said they were reaching out to the district and that they hoped to “offer insight and support to the public schools as they navigate the challenges of hate in our community. Our collective voices matter!”

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