In November at Quince Orchard, a swastika drawn in pen was discovered in a boys’ bathroom. While it may seem shocking, it is the second time this year that a swastika has been discovered at the school. Incidents like this seem to have become more and more frequent in the county recently.
Since Montgomery County is a diverse county, there is relatively little outward hatred for others. But, recently that had changed. In the past few months alone there have been several reported instances of hate speech being posted throughout the county. In late October there were swastikas painted outside of a Bethesda elementary school. In mid November students at Churchill posted a sign on a bathroom door saying “whites only.” A few days later it was reported that racial slurs were written in a boys’ bathroom at Sligo Creek Elementary in Silver Spring. Prior to this, swastikas were found in a boys’ bathroom at Westland Middle School in Bethesda. In addition to those events, earlier in the year there was a video of kids from Frost chanting a song that had racial slurs in it on a school bus. “I’m very surprised all this is happening. I feel like for the most part our county is really tolerant of everyone,” junior Ben Burger said.
While police have been looking for suspects, according to the police there are no leads as to who could have done any of these acts of vandalism.People throughout the county have been voicing their thoughts on this, “I don’t know what should happen to the people who did this but they deserve an extremely severe punishment. Anything that can offend someone should be taken extremely seriously,” junior Ethan Heiberger said.
This situation is being taken seriously throughout the county. Alison Serino, principal at Westland Middle School, said in a letter home to parents that, “We are very saddened by this incident It is offensive. This type of behavior will not be tolerated.” Serino also said how she and her staff would use this not just as a teaching moment for the students but the faculty, parents and entire community as a whole. “ I honestly don’t understand how some people could do something that is so hateful and mean spirited. It just blows my mind how people can do something to other people who they go to school with.”
“The entire situation is really sad. With everything going on in the world, the last thing we need is more hatred and bad feelings towards each other. It’s not hard for people to be respectful and to just get along with one another,” junior Myah Owens said.