2022 | Schools

County official condemns anti-Semitic images drawn on middle school desk

Tilden principal calls incident ‘unacceptable’

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Tilden Middle School

via MCPS

County Council President Gabe Albornoz on Monday condemned anti-Semitism, days after swastikas and white supremacy symbols were found drawn on a desk at a Rockville middle school.

Montgomery County police were called to Tilden Middle School at about 4 p.m. on Thursday and found swastikas and “KKK” letters drawn on a desk in pencil, according to police spokeswoman Lauren Ivey. She said no suspects had been identified as of Monday afternoon.

“Tragically, we have seen incidents of hate-fueled crimes spike after the pandemic, and it’s heartbreaking to see these issues come up, which of course are on top of all of the stress that our students are under at the moment and no one, especially children, should be subjected to anything that makes them feel unsafe,” Albornoz said during a call with reporters.

In a message to the school community last week, Tilden Principal Irina La Grange called the drawings “inappropriate and unsettling” and said the incident is “unacceptable.”

She asked parents to help students “understand the weight that intolerable symbols, words, and actions carry with them.”

The incident was first reported by Fox 5 on Friday.

In October 2020, the Montgomery County Board of Education passed a resolution explicitly banning the use of imagery depicting “nooses, swastikas and Confederate flags” because “they disrupt the educational environment and are inconsistent with” the board’s nondiscrimination policy.

The board passed the resolution after hearing during a meeting that the imagery was not explicitly banned in its policy.

The school board adopted changes to its nondiscrimination policy in June 2021.

“The Board prohibits the use of language and/or the display of images and symbols that promote hate and can be reasonably expected to cause substantial disruption to school or district operations or activities,” the policy says. “This prohibition will not be used, however, to prevent responsible discussion of such language, images or symbols for educational purposes.”

Bethesda Beat Reporter Dan Schere contributed to this story.