Antisemitic symbol found at charter school in Seminole County

Incident comes weeks after antisemitic graffiti was found on a bathroom wall at Dr. Phillips High School

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Noelle Rivers is frustrated after she says a swastika symbol was posted inside the girls’ bathroom last week at the Galileo School of Gifted Learning Riverbend Campus.

Rivers said her daughter, who is in 7th grade, hasn’t been in school for a few days after it happened and explained her daughter has been teased several times by other students because she is Jewish.

“A kid walked up to my daughter and said ‘I hate Jews’ and another kid said ‘hey you’re Jewish’ and displayed flames on his screen, and that’s when we said ‘hey this is really getting bad, we’re not sure if we should be sending our daughter to school anymore,’” Rivers said.

Rivers claimed proper action was not taken right away. On Monday morning, the school’s principal sent an email to all parents regarding the incident.

[TRENDING: Orlando-bound flight clipped by another United jetliner at New Jersey airport | Florida firefighter to donate organs in selfless last act after surfing accident, family says | Become a News 6 Insider]

“That’s part of the issue is that people are like middle schoolers are stupid, middle schoolers are unkind. Yes, we know that that can happen, but this is at an entirely level of harassment,” Rivers said.

“I am writing to let you know that last week we investigated an incident on our campus where a student posted a swastika symbol in a bathroom stall in the girl’s restroom. We became aware of it through another student who was troubled by it. The swastika was actually taken down by the individual who put it up within an hour but not before it was seen by a couple students. Our staff and students were saddened that this occurred on our campus. We met with the families involved in the incident and notified law enforcement. As we continue working all angles of the case, we are meeting as a school team with our middle school teachers tomorrow morning to formulate a plan to discuss this particular issue and further intervention efforts.

As of Friday afternoon, we felt that we had met with the students and families who were directly involved in this incident and although we believe it is an isolated incident, we want to be proactive in our efforts to ensure it does not reoccur. I wanted to let you all know about this because it is a very serious issue and there has been some community conversation about it.

We are hopeful that you can have a family dialogue with your students about hurtful words and actions and the incredible impact that they can have on others. We have always known that Galileo has a special community and want all students to feel included and respected.”

Statement from Michelle Nunez, principal at Galileo School of Gifted Learning Riverbend Campus

News 6 reached out to school Principal Michelle Nunez to learn more about the incident and she said, “Our investigation found that one student was responsible for putting up the swastika. I cannot comment on discipline outcome of that student, but can say that we do follow the Seminole County Discipline Code of Conduct,”

This incident comes weeks after antisemitic graffiti was found on a bathroom wall at Dr. Phillips High School, which is still being investigated.

Last month, antisemitic messages were projected on the side of a building in downtown Orlando and a neighborhood in West Orange County was also targeted with antisemitic flyers.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!