Is It Really More Than Swastikas On Bleachers?
By: Alex B.
Is it really more than swastikas on bleachers? It’s just a little drawing on some seats in the gym, or on the tiles on the bathroom walls, right? No harm can come out of just a little illustration. What harm can come from having a little laugh?
A lot of harm, especially considering the highly regarded public school system in Duxbury. No one will want to live in a town and have their children grow up with other children who find vandalism of school property with swastikas funny.
Back in May of this year, the Dragon Flyer published an article titled “It’s More than Swastikas on the Bleachers”, which made the statement of “The ‘laugh it off culture’ has got to come to an end. It is not funny.” The article was brought about by the discovery of swastikas drawn about the school last year. It brought shock to the community within our school and town.
Surprisingly, the events this year aren’t the first swastika-related incidents that have occurred in Duxbury. Back in 2011, swastikas were found in the bathrooms of the old high school, though weren’t delved into as much as these new ones were.
Many students weren’t pleased by the events last year and at the beginning of this year. Junior Ben H. said, “I think those people are pathetic because most of the people who do it, do it to be cool.” Another student, sophomore Willy T., said, “It was not a smart thing to do. The only thing you get out of that is negativity.”
Teachers were also shocked and displeased by the events. “It’s obviously really upsetting to see swastikas in your workplace, especially as a Jewish person,” Mr. Mael, a high school history and middle school Latin teacher, said. “It made me feel uncomfortable the first few days [after the event] knowing that I walk among people who have that sort of belief or just people who don’t understand the significance of the symbol.”
Duxbury High School principal Mr. Donovan said, “I was just really angry, that’s what I thought…I had been preparing to address the issues from last spring because the calendar had kind of put it out of sight and out of mind…we cannot lose sight of the fact that we are doing this to each other.” It is true; it’s students vandalizing their own school with symbols of hatred.
“I feel that they really represent how people have forgotten how much weight these symbols have had throughout history,” junior Laurel B. said. Senior Sam S., on the topic of educating, said, “I feel that instead of just covering it up, we should turn it into a learning experience, and ensure that people don’t do that again.” Middle schoolers have no formal school education on the swastika and its background. Students aren’t formally taught about the Holocaust until ninth grade when they read Night by Elie Wiesel and the World History course goes over it thoroughly.
“If it was younger kids, they might not know the meaning of it. Maybe they’re trying to get attention, or they for some god awful reason they think they’re funny,” Mrs. Sullivan, freshmen World History and Holocaust and Human Behavior teacher, said. “We need to take a look at our education and somehow get it in there. Even if they don’t take the Holocaust class, they need to learn a little more empathy for the victims of these people and understand how much it hurts people that this symbol affects.”
It really is more than swastikas on bleachers. It’s about the symbolism of hatred and genocide. It’s about the impact it has on Duxbury and its community. It’s harm done by students to students, whether it’s done intentionally or not. What matters is that students should be better educated on the meaning of the symbol, and learn that a symbol of hatred and intolerance is not a symbol of humor and jokes.
As Mrs. Sullivan said, “Hitler is not a joke.”