HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Swastikas and racial slurs have been found scrawled inside a Bergen County high school.
Now students are demanding administrators step up to put an end to it.
Students at Pascack Valley High School have signed a pledge against hate, following at least three anti-Semitic or racially motivated incidents at their school.
“It’s not acceptable at all. And it’s awful that it’s even happening with kids in our school when it really shouldn’t be,” student Zak Terzini told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez on Monday.
“It’s not right at all and here at PV we don’t tolerate that,” student Ana Beyer added.
Since February, a swastika was found drawn on a door inside the school, another swastika was discovered drawn on a piece of paper and the letters “WP,” believed to stand for “white power,” were found scrawled in marker in a boys bathroom, Sanchez reported.
“One swastika is one swastika too many. One ‘WP’ is one ‘WP’ too many,” Pascack Valley Schools Superintendent Erik Gundersen said.
Gundersen said police are investigating the most recent incidents, adding five students were also disciplined in December for making racist remarks.
“We believe that this type of behavior is limited to a very small group of students,” Gunderson said. “(There are) incidents here and there — not a regular pattern and not a progression.”
A student human rights group posted a letter in the school’s online newspaper calling for action. So now the Anti-Defamation League is teaming up with school administrators to put an end to the hate.
“Every school needs to do more to provide environments that are free of racism, bigotry and hatred, and promote an environment and culture that fosters learning as well as understanding,” the ADL’s Joshua Cohen said.
“If you walk into any other school in Bergen County, this is not just something specific to PV. It’s everyone. So I hope this is an example for everyone that we don’t tolerate anything less than acceptance for everyone,” student Jennifer Schneider added.
The ADL will be meeting with Pascack school administrators on Thursday to discuss possible programs for the schools, Sanchez reported.