Large swastika cut into autistic Jewish boy’s back in Nevada school

The boy’s mother filed a complaint after the school did nothing; the FBI is currently investigating it as a hate crime.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The FBI is currently investigating as a hate crime an incident where a large swastika was cut into an autistic boy’s back in a Nevada public school, Ynet reported Tuesday.

The mother of the 17-year-old, who does not speak and attends the Clark High School in Las Vegas with both a service dog and a shadow, said that her son came home on March 9 with the marking. She also found that the dog’s equipment bag had been torn and resewn.

“My son is the only student I know of who wears a kippah at the school,” said the mother, making him visibly Jewish. Her immediate email to the school regarding the incident generated no investigation, with both the administration and her son’s assistant saying that “nothing happened at school,” said the mother to Orthodox Jewish news site COLlive.

The family filed a police complaint four days later, and then pulled the boy out of the school, she told the news site, “because it’s an unsafe environment.”

In an emailed correspondence with the Jewish Press, she added, “As far as I know, the one-on-one is still working at CCSD (Clark County School District). Her job is to be with my son. If she did not do [the etched mark], I believe she knows who did.”

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As the school does not have cameras installed in its classrooms or hallways as many public schools do today, there is no video documentation of the hate crime and the FBI will have to rely on other means to find out who was involved.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Nevada regional director, Jolie Brislin, asked for the public’s help in providing relevant information regarding “this violent, antisemitic act” in a tweet Tuesday.

“Not only was this student targeted for his identifiable faith, but he was particularly vulnerable due to his disability,” she pointed out.

“School should be no place for hate and no student should be made to feel unsafe and threatened,” Brislin added, saying that the veteran Jewish organization has been in contact with the parents, school district and police, “and will be working with Clark High School to provide antisemitism education.”

According to the Ynet report, the FBI got involved after the Israeli American Council (IAC) intervened in the matter. The IAC, whose mission is partly to build a Jewishly engaged and united Israeli-American community, had recently created a website called School Watch due to the growing number of anti-Jewish incidents it heard about.

The website is a forum for parents and their children to complain about antisemitism that occurs during their studies, and the organization then helps the complainants face both the educational facilities and the law authorities.

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“Every week we receive at least four inquiries from Jewish parents or students,” IAC cofounder and CEO Shoham Nicolet said, stating the startling statistic that “”75% of Israeli-Americans encounter antisemitism in schools. Children are afraid to wear IDF shirts and Star of David jewelry. There is no distinction between Israeli and Jewish, there is hatred and it has become the norm.”

According to an IAC report on the issue, 43% of incidents that it was told about occur in high schools, 35% in middle schools, and 22% in elementary schools and includes both teachers and students as perpetrators. While California (19%), Massachusetts (17%) and New Jersey (16%) take the first three spots in the school-led antisemitism, Nevada comes in a “respectable” fourth place, with 12% of all complaints.