Swastika found etched on high school locker

The Wilton High School community was “deeply troubled and saddened” over the discovery of a swastika etched on a student locker on Monday, Sept. 8, Principal Robert O’Donnell stated in a letter addressed to students, educators and parents.

According to Mr. O’Donnell’s letter, school administration identified the party responsible for the swastika, replaced the affected locker panel, and “assessed the impact on those immediately affected.”

The Wilton Police Department was consulted through the school resource officer, said Mr. O’Donnell.

“Our school’s mission is to ensure a nurturing, respectful environment in which we foster scholarship, character and citizenship. That mission requires an atmosphere free of prejudice, cruelty and intolerance,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“We want all students to develop intellect and compassion, thereby creating a world generously lit by both.”

Mr. O’Donnell said symbols of hatred, racism and anti-Semitism “have no place in that vision.”

“Like all sensible and just people, we consider publication of hate symbols to be a rank obscenity under any conditions anywhere,” he said.

“That revulsion is magnified when the symbol in questions is found in a public school.”

Mr. O’Donnell wrote that the most paramount concerns of Wilton educators are the physical safety and emotional wellness of the learning community.

“We have been carefully considering the situation, and are crafting a plan that will address the distress many of us feel,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“That plan will include consequences for behavior that violates our discipline code, but will exceed a merely punitive stance.”

Mr. O’Donnell said this situation gives the school community an opportunity to “renew and augment our school’s dialogue around the perils or intolerance and the importance of respecting the dignity of all persons and groups.”

“In the days and weeks to come we will engage in conversations around this important issue,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“Working in concert with our student government, we will assess the tenor of and impact on the student body and seek proactive solutions to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.”

Senator’s statement

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released a statement on Tuesday, Sept. 9, regarding the incident at Wilton High School.

“At a time when the world’s eyes are on tensions in the Middle East and anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head, this should never be tolerated,” said the senator.

“We should use this as a teachable moment to bring the history of Israel and its struggles to our students.”

Sen. Boucher concluded her statement by pointing out that “the measure of a community is not whether they occur, but how a community responds.”