Laytonsville Elementary School principal Maria Watson sent a letter to the Laytonsville community on Monday informing them of vandalism discovered on a bench outside of the school. According to the letter, the vandalism included a “drawing of a swastika with the name Hitler” drawn on a bench outside of the school. The full letter, with additional information, can be seen below:
“Dear Laytonsville Elementary School Community,
I am extremely disappointed to report to you that a drawing of a swastika with the name Hitler was recently discovered on a bench outside of Laytonsville Elementary School (LES). Due to the timely response by an LES staff member, it was quickly removed, and we subsequently informed Montgomery County Police (MCPD), the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Office of School Security and Emergency Management (OSSEM), and the MCPS Office of School Support and Well-Being (OSSWB) to assist in the investigation of this serious action.
We are deeply saddened that this news comes on the same day that a community letter from LES leadership was sent affirming our dedication to making all students and families feel welcome and safe in our school community. While there is no indication that this was written by LES students, it is important that we continue our work with our students to help them understand the impact of hateful and hurtful words and symbols of antisemitism. We value and appreciate all of our students and staff, and in order for this to continue to occur, respect has to be evident in our school. This means that we need to continue to recognize our differences and show understanding, acceptance, and empathy towards each other. When we use inappropriate words to describe each other – or draw hateful symbols that we know will cause hurt and harm – we are not respecting each other, nor are we creating a community of care. In addition, we are well-aware of the larger context here within our school district and have been partnering with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to bring supports to MCPS.
I encourage parents to talk with their children about respecting our differences. Please help them to understand the weight that intolerable symbols, words, and actions carry with them. HERE is a link for parents of suggested tools and strategies to talk with children about important societal issues. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 240-740-1660.
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