Los Altos middle school investigates swastikas found drawn on lockers, 1 belonging to Jewish student

Superintendent Sandra McGonagle says this is the second antisemitic incident on an LASD middle school campus in recent weeks.

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Los Altos School District investigating swastikas drawn on lockers
The Los Altos School District is investigating after several swastikas were found drawn on lockers at Blach Intermediate School.

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- The Los Altos School District is investigating an antisemitic event on the campus of Blach Intermediate School after several swastikas were found drawn on lockers in the boys locker room. One of those lockers belonged to a Jewish student.

"Our students aren't happy that this is the community in which, the school community in which they are in," Los Altos School District Superintendent Sandra McGonagle said.

At the beginning of the school day Friday, a student told administrators he found a swastika drawn on his locker with pen, four more were located on other lockers by staff.

After they were cleaned off, more of the hateful imagery appeared on lockers Monday morning. It is likely said to have been drawn by the same student.

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"It is important that every student, in order to learn comes to school feeling safe, feeling respected, feeling seen," McGonagle said. "And when our environment is breached in some way, which this is a breach of that, we want to make sure kids understand their role."

Superintendent Sandra McGonagle says this is the second incident on an LASD middle school campus in as many weeks after an antisemitic remark and gesture was made to two female Jewish students two weeks ago.

It comes as antisemitic incidents increase across the U.S., according to the FBI and Jews don't feel safe.

A recent report by the Jewish Community Council of the Bay Area finding more than 60% of Bay Area Jews feel less safe in day-to-day lives.

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"I know our Jewish community is feeling under attack," McGonagle said. "I know that our Palestinian community is feeling under attack. We're a microcosm of the greater world, so we do want to make sure that our students and families feel supported."

McGonagle says 7th and 8th grade students at the two junior high schools in the district will now take part in training sessions in partnership with the anti-defamation league in February.

Staff went through similar training regarding anti-bias and anti-hate from the ADL as well.

"We want, not only our school community, but our greater community to feel safe regardless of how they may identify," McGonagle said.

Los Altos Councilmember Pete Dailey responded to the antisemetic events on campus telling us: "Jews in our community are understandably scared and this is not an isolated incident. Our Jewish residents have shared their concerns with me over incidents like this. This isn't the first incident in the schools. Like in other communities in the U.S., our Jewish residents have experienced a rising tide of antisemitism and threats of violence."

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