Students formed human swastika at junior high school, officials say | News Coverage from USA

Students formed human swastika at junior high school, officials say

CAMARILLO, Calif. – Nine students formed a swastika with their bodies on a field at a California junior high school last month, officials say.

A parent brought 112 pages from a group chat among 12 Matilija Junior High students to school officials, including photos of the human swastika, Ojai Unified School District Superintendent Andy Cantwell said. 

The information prompted a letter from the Ojai school’s administrators addressing the swastika incident, which was sent out to the school community Dec. 14. 

“It brings us great pain to share with you, reprehensible student actions that have taken place over the course of the last few weeks,” the letter from Principal Javier Ramirez and Assistant Principal Carol Paquette said. 

The letter went on to say that 12 of the junior high’s students had engaged in “commentary and sharing of images through a group chat.” 

“The actions, comments and pictures consisted of racist, sexually inappropriate and threatening commentary including a comment by a student to bring knives to school,” the letter read. The chat apparently began in mid-November and continued through the first week of December, according to the letter. 

“In photos shared during the chat, there is evidence of nine students laying on the field together to form the shape of a swastika during lunch,” the letter stated. “The Matilija administration and staff are beyond saddened that this occurred.” 

The junior high school currently has about 400 students enrolled in grades seven and eight, Cantwell said. 

According to last year’s data from the California Department of Education, just over 60 percent of the school’s population is white, 0.7 percent is African-American and about 32 percent is Hispanic or Latino. The district’s overall ethnic breakdown is similar.

Cantwell said in the interest of protecting student privacy, he couldn’t share the consequences students involved faced but did say the consequences varied depending on “level of participation.”

“As a school administrator, student safety is always the top priority beyond safety from physical harm, we have a responsibility to provide an environment where all students and cultures are treated with dignity and respect,” Cantwell said. “It’s discouraging to see the choices students can make, but we can make this a learning opportunity just as we always seek to help students in their maturation and growth.” 


The school partnered with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office to fully investigate any threat to the safety of the school. After a “full and thorough investigation,” officers concluded there is no active threat to students. 

“We also want you to know that after working with the parents and students, we are confident this incident has been a profound learning experience for each student involved,” the letter states. 

Cantwell said the school is planning an assembly this month and that the district plans to pursue further education and awareness opportunities for students across all campuses.

More: Lawmaker resigns citing racial harassment, home invasions and swastika graffiti


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *