ORLANDO, Fla. – A post on social media of antisemitic graffiti found in the bathroom of an Orange County high school has prompted a police investigation.
The post by someone on Twitter claimed he found the graffiti on a bathroom wall at Dr. Phillips High School Wednesday night.
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A spokesman for Orange County Public Schools said the principal at Dr. Phillips High School sent a notification to families Thursday morning about the report, assuring parents that the report was being investigated by the school and by law enforcement.
“I want to let you know that last evening staff was made aware of an antisemitic message on a bathroom wall on campus. In addition to being extremely disappointed, I want to assure you this is not representative of the values and beliefs of Dr. Phillips High School,” said Principal Jackie Ramsey.
Ramsey said appropriate discipline for whoever did it would be handed out, including “suspension, expulsion and arrest.”
Orlando police confirmed that school resource officers were working with the school district, but would not provide more information.
Ramsey also said she was concerned that a picture of the graffiti was posted to social media, saying it furthers the antisemitic messaging.
Michael McNarney said he found the message while attending an event at the school Wednesday night.
“There it was on the wall. ‘WP’ for ‘White Power’ and some Nazi ‘SS’ symbols,” McNarney said. “First surprised, then shocked. (Dr. Phillips) is a great school, and I was surprised, but then more fear. You know, my child goes there. He’s Jewish.”
McNarney tweeted the picture to Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani.
“I was incredibly disturbed and disheartened by seeing what our white supremacy symbols in a high school bathroom here in Orange County,” Eskamani said. “We cannot normalize this, and the only way we can stop its expansion and growth is to expose this hate, have conversations with our family, our children, with our friends and again remember our history.”
McNarney said it’s important that students learn from the incident.
“To help them learn from this and realize the behavior is wrong and also to explore why some at the school are doing that,” McNarney said.
“I want to reiterate that if you see something, say something to the school administrators, law enforcement, or through the Fortify Florida app so inappropriate behaviors can be dealt with immediately,” Ramsey said.
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The report comes as the Anti-Defamation League unveiled a new report regarding growing antisemitic views among Americans. The ADL said more Americans were believing antisemitic tropes, and Orlando had the third most antisemitic incidents in Florida in 2022.
The incident also comes weeks after a group projected antisemitic messages on the side of a building in downtown Orlando on New Year’s Eve. A neighborhood in Orange County was also targeted with antisemitic flyers over the weekend.
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