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Swastika found etched into gym door at Boston Latin School, but officials say it may not be recent

Boston Latin School Head of School Jason Gallagher alerted parents today that a student discovered "a small swastika" etched into a gym door - even as the school was planning to launch programs "related to antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab discrimination."

Last night, we received an email from a BLS family that their student had discovered a small swastika etched on a door in the lower gymnasium. This morning, we located this hate symbol and ensured that it is no longer visible. While it appears that the swastika may have been placed there a while ago and it was tough to see, we are making every effort to investigate this thoroughly in partnership with the BPS Office of Safety, BPS Office of Equity, and Boston Police Department Civil Rights Unit, including viewing security camera footage.

Our community is angry and heartbroken by this, regardless of when it was first placed there. To find the most significant and notorious symbol of hate, white supremacy and antisemitism in our school is unacceptable. It is in contradiction to our BLS Core Values where we “Respect each other, respect our unique identities, and respect the fundamental humanity of each person.” If any students would like support as we process this, as always, please do not hesitate to contact your guidance counselor.

Gallagher said he will soon release details of the school's new efforts to combat hate:

This has been a very challenging time for so many of us, and each day, we are identifying important steps as we heal, learn, and build bridges.

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Comments

Middle and high school students being what they are

if they didn't have a public flip-out every time this happened

it would happen less. Like, just get the custodian to erase it immediately?

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Respectfully disagree. It would still happen, but people just wouldn’t be aware of it. Hate grows in the dark.

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and the overblown reaction is just going to reward them. Kids have been pulling this crap forever. "Freak out the adults with this one weird trick!"

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a lost cause, but maybe it would benefit other young people to understand that antisemitism is wrong.

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first, many or even most middle-school students are sociopaths, anarchists, Dadaists, situationists, revolutionaries of some kind, whether in the Beavis and Butthead style or the Mean Girls style.

second, the swastika can be an edgy gesture just made without any thought or even knowledge about the historical context. It's only recently that people don't recognize it might just mean "fuck it" rather than "literally Nazi anti-semitism OMG"

third, (The hated) adults in authority flipping out and disrupting the boring routine of classes and examinations to give lectures on anti-semitism is an optimal outcome for Beavis and Butthead.

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I remember another kid in elementary school drawing swastikas on his notebook. It was 100% just something he had seen elsewhere and thought was edgy -- not to mention being geometrically enticing and easy to draw (note its prior unrelated use in many other cultures). He seemed very chastened after he was pulled aside and had the meaning explained to him.

(edit: typo)

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If awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion were foundational parts of the curriculum and not trotted out as a single school assembly when something happens we wouldn't have generation after generation thinking this shit was cool.

Maybe if we decided to engage with human nature rather than hide this sort of bullshit, it wouldn't happen at all.

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It's more likely that 30 years of DEI lecturing has produced the alt-right and Trump, by alienating a large number of people.

The problem is the designers of these DEI programs can't limit them to "be nice to each other." They have to inject a view of the world that most people think is extreme, including the concept of "equity."

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Please elaborate with information that goes beyond your opinion.

30 years? LOL.

Sounds like more "its your fault that I'm a violent prick" talk from yet another narcissistic abuser to me.

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reply to anyone without an ad-hominem insult? Please try to be civil. This is the Hub. We don't like that kind of thing on Mt. Vernon Street.

The first point of information is that Trump got elected. The second point is that the Republican Party has turned to the right.

The third and subsequent points are in survey data, referenced here

https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/young-men-becoming-more-right-wing/

Andrew Tate didn't just become a thing because young men were happy.

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and if you read Kevin Drum for more than 3 seconds you would know to what he attributes the rise in right wing extremism.

actually, it would only take about 5 seconds of reading his blog since he posts about it like once a week.

hint: it’s not avocado toast.

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It's James Joyner, and here's the quote:

Unfortunately, “toxic masculinity”—like “white privilege,” “structural racism,” and so many others—is an example of what James Carville refers to as “faculty lounge language.” While excellent as specialist jargon, they inevitably repel people in ordinary conversation because they’re easily misunderstood. So, while one would think a basic understanding of how adjectives work would obviate the problem, referring to “toxic masculinity” inevitably draws the reaction “What the hell’s your problem with masculinity?!”

Similarly, while I think the increased focus on sexual harassment and workplace climate in the wake of the #MeToo scandals is overdue, the training itself is often counterproductive. If done well, it opens the aperture of men and boys to understand that behavior they think is merely jocular or flirty can be burdensome or even threatening. If done poorly, though, it comes across as “all men are disgusting pigs” and creates backlash. Shorthands like “Believe Women,” while well-intentioned, are harmful, in that they reverse the presumption of innocence and justify nonsense like the Pence Rule.

Why don't you try to show that these lectures and scolding work? Because a lot of people think they're counterproductive.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/11/opinion/workplace-diversity-dei-initi...
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/17/opinion/dei-trainings-effective.html

https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail

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i am responding to the following assertions that you made:

The first point of information is that Trump got elected.

The second point is that the Republican Party has turned to the right.

Joyner’s essay supports neither of these assertions. in fact, he says:

I’m skeptical that young men are suddenly swinging MAGA. But they’re certainly Joe Rogan’s target demographic. Ditto Jordan Peterson.

in other words, right wing media works for young white men because they feel increasingly alienated by cultural shifts.

this does not mean that we should abandon conversations about diversity and equality, nor is that what Joyner or Drum are implying.

you continue:

The third and subsequent points are in survey data, referenced here

my point in bringing up Kevin Drum is that the survey data he posted does not support your assertions either. in fact, if you read him with any regularity you know that he attributes the rise in right wing ideas among youth squarely to Fox News. right wing media.

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“toxic masculinity”—like “white privilege,” “structural racism,” and so many others—is an example of what James Carville refers to as “faculty lounge language.”

Yeah, now there's a credible source right there. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

In case it's escaped your notice, James Carville is a classic case of a naked emperor. He delivers nonsensical and painfully outdated assertions with great confidence and an air of authority, and chuckleheads fall for it.

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This has especially been true ever since the Lynn Mooney Tata debacle. The program may not be perfect (almost certainly isn't), but it's not something they just trot out when there is an incident. Also, upping the game on anti-semitism is pretty much on point right now, given the current events cycle.

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There are always, ALWAYS going to be teenagers who think whatever the morally/socially unacceptable thing of the time period is cool. Not even because they actually believe in it, but because there are ALWAYS going to be a handful of shitty teens who prioritize being unique/counterculture/edgy/"not a sheeple" over actually thinking about things. I've heard teen boys candidly telling teachers "we should bring back slavery" while also being good friends with Black classmates, not even believing it, just because it's such a reprehensible thing to say and now they've gotten a reaction from the "cringe boomers."

So it's a complex problem for schools to solve - yes, we need better social education to make sure the general student population realizes things like antisemitism are bad, including calling out instances where it happens for in-real-time learning.... but all the educational programming in the world isn't going to stop a subset of kids who just say shit to get a rise, and for that subset, making a big public deal out of it gives them further thrills, so....

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… adults who do the same. Ones who did not grow out of this behavior while a young adult.

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That's a lot of lofty idealism about how increased indoctrination will stop bored teenagers from doing dumb stuff.

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is now indoctrination lol

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…. form letter they might have gotten more complaints from parents as rumors spread. In this particular time of warfare in the Middle East, I think the automated response was wise and not a freak out. Maybe too much media attention qualifies. I’m not an expert.

Otherwise, I think you are correct about not giving the perpetrators the attention they crave. That’s how it generally works in more peaceful times.

It’s a hard call either way.

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I think you are correct about not giving the perpetrators the attention they crave. That’s how it generally works in more peaceful times.

Except that it doesn't, always - and these are not rare exceptions, and less rare in more recent years. Hate groups are quite aware of their effect, and also aware of this non-response and how to use it to their advantage. If the response to a hate group showing up in a public space is to ignore them, they will make their presence so disruptive that it's not possible to ignore them. If the response to that disruption is to cede the use of that public space, then they now own that public space. If the response is to gather in other places, they will follow you there. Their goal is not "attention", it is provocation, disruption, harassment and assault. "Ignoring" them simply hands them a victory.

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.. from a teenager to hate group.

You have some special information that this little swastika, so small it was possibly overlooked for a long time, is the work of a hate group aiming to take over Boston Latin?

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You have some special information that this little swastika

No, I don't. I've just heard the dismissive "don't give them the attention" statement too many times. Note that if I don't have any "special information" about "this little swastika", so do those saying "don't give them the attention" lack any special insight into the mindset of the perpetrators that they're eager for all of us to ignore.

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Sheesh!

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In one of the original music rooms two floors above the Head of School's office were wooden walls. Someone carved "L. Bernstein Was Here".

It was left alone.

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You must have been one of those smart kids.

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John wants us all to know where he went to high school. It is important to him.

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Perhaps if you move with your grandkids into the city, they might be able to get in. I mean they’ve got to be in 5th grade by now, based on your age, right?

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A misogynistic response relying on "older woman" and "grandmother" = "insult". How clever.

To be fair, my grandcats are 10 years old.

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Did the girl from the trailer park just try to put down the high school education of someone?

You be you then.

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Did the boy from who knows where just call a woman "girl"?

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Missed that.
I’m so used to not reading this one’s posts.

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…. high school as his further comments demonstrate. Not to mention yesterday’s.

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When did they have music rooms up there? We always practiced in the basement. The Junior Band had a room under the Headmasters office ( O'Leary then Mike the Cop in my day) and the Senior Band practiced in the big room across from the cafeteria. There were a few small storage rooms we could practice in during study periods but those were all in the basement too.
As for the Reggie Lewis track article, we practiced running on the marble floors in the basement. We had tape on the floor to set up the hurdles.

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When did you graduate? I was 1997.

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Way back in 1980 for me. Was in the Jr. Band then Senior Band and Football Band.
Mr. Boisen was our conductor. (Great guy!)

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The room 2 rooms to the north of the then library were music rooms once.

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How long ago did you peak in high school?

Turnabout being fair play ...

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Did they put it into context?

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