Authorities in Connecticut are investigating after swastikas were found drawn on a high school campus in Stamford for the second time since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel earlier this month, the school district said.
Students found swastikas drawn on the tennis courts of the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering on Friday and reported it to administrators, according to a statement from Stamford Public School District and city officials.
The Stamford Police Department is investigating the incident, which “appears to be an act of vandalism with no corresponding threats or derogatory comments,” Captain Thomas Barcello told CNN.
There is no indication that a member of the school community drew the symbols, the statement said, noting the district’s campuses are open to the public when school is not is session.
The district said the antisemitic symbols have been found on the school’s campus twice since October 7, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas initiated a cross-border raid from Gaza into Israel. The attack ignited a vicious response from Israel and sparked a war in which more than 8,000 people in Gaza and more than 1,400 in Israel have been killed so far.
Since the war began, advocacy groups have reported a spike in hate incidents targeting Jewish and Muslim people in the US, including the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy in Chicago and violent antisemitic threats made online against Jewish students at New York’s Cornell University over the weekend.
The statement – written by Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons, Board of Education president Jackie Heftman and district superintendent Tamu Lucero – denounced the act as “abhorrent” and antisemitic.
“Everyone in our community – especially the young people who attend our schools – deserve respect and to live, work, and learn without fear of being targeted based on their faith, nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation,” the officials wrote.
“The students who reported this latest example of hate should be commended for setting a positive example for everyone in our community,” they added.
Following the incident, city and school officials informed members of Stamford’s Jewish faith community and are taking steps to implement “anti-bias programming” in the district’s middle and high schools, the statement said.
The district is asking families to immediately contact a school administrator if they become aware of any other antisemitic incidents.
The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering is a public, college preparatory high school with about 700 students. Its campus is in central Stamford, about 50 miles southwest of New Haven, Connecticut.