An anti-Semitic graffiti was found at Maryland’s Walt Whitman High School on Saturday morning, December 17, creating a wave of outrage among people. The bigoted message reading “Jews Not Welcome” was spray-painted on the school's entrance sign.
The incident is the fourth anti-Semitic vandalism that has occurred in Montogomery County since August this year. Police are investigating the matter to find the vandal who wrote the hateful message. After news of the incident broke, angry netizens took to Twitter to strongly condemn the act.
Walt Whitman High School’s Principal, Robert Dodd, informed parents about the incident through a letter after it took place. He called the deed "abhorrent" and "extremely hurtful." Police were immediately notified about the graffiti after it was discovered scribbled.
Walt Whitman High School’s Principal, Robert Dodd, asked parents in the letter to talk to their kids about the act of anti-Semitic vandalism and:
“about respecting and showing acceptance to all people and demonstrating understanding of our differences. Please help them understand the impact that intolerable symbols, words, and actions have."
The anti-Semitic message on Walt Whitman High School's entrance was later removed that very day.
Government officials and common people stand in solidarity with Walt Whitman High School
Jewish groups, local leaders, and federal and state authorities condemned the series of similar incidents happening in the county. Montogomery County has been resolute in combatting anti-Semitism and has arranged for safety grants to places of worship as hate activities against Jews are growing nationwide. However, even after all these measures, they could not prevent vandalism in Walt Whitman High School.
Marcus Jones, Chief of Police, said that an investigator has been appointed to look for images of any potential suspects. Patrols in places of worship, schools, and community centers will be increased as decided by the police department. In his statement, the Chief wrote:
“Acts of hate and bigotry are on the rise across the country and in Montgomery County. Anti-Semitism and any forms of hate/bias are not welcome in our community. As a community, we must work together to protect the diversity that our county offers, and we need to reject anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind.”
Council members of Montogomery County expressed their disgust and anger with another display of communal hate hurled at the Jewish community. They stated that the country continues to experience a deeply disturbing and concerning rise in anti-Semitism. The members called out to everyone and asked them to join hands to stand against and denounce these hate crimes.
Senator Chris Van Hollen and governor-elect Wes Moore strongly criticized this act of vandalism and took to Twitter to call for solidarity from the people.
County representative Jamie Raskin also pointed to the timing of the vandalism being just before Hanukkah and on Shabbat.
Several netizens called the act despicable and disturbing. They outstretched their support and sympathy for the Jewish community as well as Walt Whitman School. One user even chastised the fact that the school is named after Walt Whitman, one of their favorite American poets, which makes the incident even more enraging for them.
Previous anti-Semitic Vandalism in Montogomery County this year
In November recently, another piece of graffiti containing a swastika and hangman figures along with the message “No mercy for Jews” was found along the North Bethesda Trail. The same graffiti was also discovered at two more places – one at Old Georgetown Road and the other at Tuckerman Lane.
On Friday, December 16, anti-Semitic symbols were discovered on a bench at Westfield Montogomery mall’s bus stop. It was reported to the Anti-Defamation League’s regional office. Evan Glass, the County Council President, specified that the vandalized symbol was a swastika.
Back in August this year, police found several swastikas along with other anti-Semitic graffiti in three more places along North Bethesda’s Trolley Trail. An anti-Semitic poster was also spotted in Kensington.