Swastika drawn on Perrysburg teacher’s Pride flag

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 12:48 PM EDT
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - A student is being disciplined after administrators at Perrysburg High School determined they had drawn a swastika on a classroom cork board painted as a Pride flag.

In a letter to parents, employees and the community, superintendent Thomas Hosler said officials became aware of the “symbol of hate” on the morning of May 19.

The classroom is occupied by a staff member who is Jewish.

The student’s identity was not released, nor the specific discipline.

The letter made reference to school districts refraining from commenting once police are involved.

You can read the letter in its entirety below.

Dear Families, Employees and Community Members,

On Friday morning, May 19, 2023, Perrysburg High School officials were made aware of a symbol of hate in a classroom at the school – a swastika was drawn on a cork board that had painted on it an image of a pride flag. The classroom where this occurred is occupied by a staff member who is Jewish. It is heartbreaking to share this news but it is important for us as a school community to be transparent about the incident, publicly state there is no tolerance for this behavior, support our staff member and work collectively to confront hate whenever and wherever it reveals itself.

In following our school district’s policies, school administration immediately began an investigation, working with our School Resource Officer, and discovered the identity of the student who vandalized the classroom. Perrysburg Schools treats all allegations of harassment and hate seriously. Our response seeks to not only hold the person responsible for the vandalism accountable but also strive to make the student aware of the impact of their actions. Ensuring a safe school environment for all students and employees is paramount in each step.

We value all individuals and their rights throughout the process. Many matters have confidential aspects that prevent us from sharing details, which can be frustrating, understandably. School districts are very limited with what we can share with the public. We cannot disclose most student information, including discipline, per the “Family Educational Right to Privacy Act” (FERPA), a federal privacy law. Also, once the police are involved, we cannot typically comment further than the police’s public statement.

Perrysburg Schools strives to maintain a safe, diverse and professional environment where all students, families and employees feel included, supported and are free from harassment and discrimination. All students, administrators, teachers, staff members and other school personnel share this responsibility. We are grateful that this graffiti was reported and responded to quickly. Not only does our response to incidents matter, but we feel strongly that our efforts each and every day in maintaining this welcoming environment matter.

I am deeply saddened by what happened and am discouraged by the actions of this individual. We as a school community work very hard to take steps to ensure ALL students achieve their greatest potential. We strive to do our very best to create an environment that is welcoming for all students and employees. In cases where individuals are made to feel that this is not the case, we acknowledge that sometimes despite our best efforts, we fall short. However, we are an organization that is willing to stand up for what is right. Our goal is to foster an environment where we collectively strive for greater understanding and compassion.

Thomas L. Hosler, Superintendent Perrysburg Schools

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