GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (KDVR) — Cherry Creek School District is sharing resources with families after students at Campus Middle School were reportedly drawing swastikas.
A letter from principal Lissa Staal to parents said there was a Holocaust presentation on Friday, and after that is when the swastikas were drawn.
“This creates an unacceptable environment of intolerance and exclusion in our school community,” Staal said in the letter.
Photos posted online showed the antisemitic symbol drawn on students’ skin.
Staal said the school was working with the Anti-Defamation League to “interrupt these incidents of racism” in the school.
“We take matters like this very seriously and do not tolerate antisemitic or any hate-motivated actions or words,” a spokesperson for the district told FOX31 over email.
Campus Middle School will discuss this and other forms of hate speech during an already-planned No Place For Hate Awareness Week, Staal’s letter said.
“We are providing Advisory lessons around the negative impact and trauma that hate speech, antisemitism, anti-ableism and the use of racial slurs have on the overall culture of our school environment,” Staal’s letter said.
ADL: Students must be taught in a sensitive way
Scott Levin, director of the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States region, said students must realize the impact of their actions.
“To treat it in such a cavalier fashion I think is — it just doesn’t do service to the memory of those people who were murdered during the Holocaust,” Levin said.
Levin emphasized that when teaching younger students, consideration for misinterpretation is crucial.
“They have to be taught in a way that is very sensitive so it doesn’t arm or weaponize them to use in a way to bully or even make fun of other students,” Levin said.
The school is working with the Anti-Defamation League to enhance the way students learn about cultural diversity and sensitivity.
The school’s letter calls on parents to join in the effort to educate students and provides resources that can help.
Cherry Creek School District said students involved in displaying hate symbols face disciplinary action.
Principal sends letter to Campus Middle community
Here is the full letter from Campus Middle School Principal Lissa Staal:
Dear Campus Families,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am reaching out to ask for your partnership in addressing inappropriate and concerning behaviors we are seeing within our student community. Over the weekend, we had reports of students drawing antisemitic symbols (swastikas) following our Holocaust presentation on Friday. This creates an unacceptable environment of intolerance and exclusion in our school community. When these events are reported to the administration, we address them immediately and those involved face disciplinary consequences. We are also connecting with the Anti-Defamation League to discuss additional measures that we can take to interrupt these incidents of racism in our school.
This week, we will continue to work to educate our students around the impact of this behavior through our already planned No Place for Hate Awareness Week. We are providing Advisory lessons around the negative impact and trauma that hate speech, antisemitism, anti-ableism and the use of racial slurs have on the overall culture of our school environment. We want all our students to feel safe to be themselves at CMS, and know they are seen, respected and valued as essential members of our student community.
We ask for your partnership and support with engaging in conversations with your child(ren) around these behaviors. I have included a link to a district resource you may find helpful in having these conversations with your student. I value your partnership in creating a safe and inclusive learning environment, and I welcome any questions or concerns you may have.
Resources for talking about race, racism and racialized violence with kids from CCSD
Principal, Campus Middle School
FOX31’s Shaul Turner contributed to this report.