I hope this was an honest oversight, but I immediately reacted on Twitter when I learned that the new logo announced on July 15th for East Side Elementary School reminded many Jewish parents of the emblem eagle used by the Nazis. It looks similar to another well-known image.
Gilbert Marty, the executive director of his congregation, began texting with the congregants while he was away from his office. As soon as he started receiving phone calls from congregants complaining about the new logo, he immediately started “pinging” his phone, as Rabbi Chaim Etz of Congregation AJT informed Daniel Dorsch, the Rabbi of East Side Elementary Street, which is just across the street from his synagogue.
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Dorsch stated, “It was completely unintentional, I suppose. During the High Holidays, we utilize their parking area. We have been members of the congregation and have had teachers associated with the school in the past and present. It’s practically adjacent to us, being right next door. We maintain a fantastic connection with the school. The principal reached out to me via phone and expressed her remorse, feeling extremely embarrassed.” I made the choice to send an email to the principal.
“We recently unveiled a fresh collection of emblems for the educational institution,” expressed Marcia Clark, the Principal of East Side Elementary School, in a statement that was made public.
The school is aware of these concerns about logos, so we will immediately review and determine the changes needed. We understand that feedback needs to be taken into consideration and paused.
We appreciate the time taken by those who reviewed the input and shared their thoughts. Although the design of our schools is based on the U.S. Army Colonel’s eagle wings, it continues to be important for us to consider changes and input from stakeholders. We strongly agree and understand the unacceptable similarities to Nazi symbolism. The school district spokeswoman, A, said that the roll-out of this logo has been halted, emphasizing the need for immediate review and changes.
Our Jewish family has always felt embraced and accepted at the school, although it remains unclear about the number of Jewish students, as mentioned by the parent who posted about the emblem. The school’s student population consists of three percent multiracial, seven percent Hispanic, five percent African American, 26 percent Asian, and 59 percent Caucasian, totaling approximately 1,240 students. East Side Elementary holds the distinction of being the largest elementary school in Cobb County.
Almost every year, the school has organized Eagle Day, where parents are encouraged to visit their children’s classrooms, join the school PTA, get information about school lunches, and learn about school clubs and bus routes. This event was excluded due to the ongoing pandemic.
Following his awareness of the logo, Dov Wilker, the director of the Atlanta region of the American Jewish Committee, released a statement. Not only did concerned parents of East Side Elementary students receive angry and anxious calls, but leaders from Twitter, Facebook, and Congregation Etz Chaim also received them.
The logo should be immediately discarded. The school should do a more thorough review of the logo. It is particularly problematic for a school located across the street from a synagogue. It is troubling that nobody in Cobb County schools recognized why this logo would be problematic. Output: The logo must be discarded without delay. The school ought to conduct a more extensive examination of the logo. The fact that the school is situated across the street from a synagogue makes this logo especially problematic. It is deeply concerning that no one in the Cobb County schools recognized the troubling nature of this logo.
The children who attend schools in Cobb County and their families deserve better. Pretending that antisemitism doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. Yet, the school sent a letter to parents contending that the incidents were not antisemitic. Last year, a high school bathroom was defaced with Nazi swastikas. “That added Wilker, this is not the first time that the schools in Cobb County have been tone-deaf to antisemitism.”
“The principals of several schools, as well as the school board initially refrained from identifying the significance of the antisemitic graffiti, merely calling it ‘hate speech’. References to Adolf Hitler and swastikas were drawn on the walls of both Lassiter High School and Pope High School during the middle of last year’s Holy High days. Indeed, the Cobb County School District has been the target of much ire from the Jewish community in the past year.”
Several years ago, students at East Cobb Middle School were disciplined after mimicking Nazi salutes and wearing an armband with a swastika on social media.
Some individuals have raised concerns about the potential connection between the East Side Elementary School logo and the emblem of the Nazi eagle symbol, particularly in light of the most recent incident.
After receiving numerous reports from parents and the media regarding the logo, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) forwarded the image to its Center on Extremism.
In 2020, Georgia witnessed an increase of 133 percent in incidents, with 21 incidents compared to 49 incidents in 2021. This significant rise in antisemitic and hate crimes reported in the region and state is particularly concerning for the community members. It is essential to listen to their concerns and take them into consideration. It should be noted that the proposed new design is not intended to be a Nazi symbol, as clarified by senior research staff.
Jessica Weinstein, the ADL’s associate regional director, noted the “heightened sense of awareness” of antisemitism in the Jewish community and commended it.
She expressed excitement about the process that the school had undertaken to redesign its logo when East Side Elementary Principal Clark first announced the new logo, stating that it was chosen to symbolize the Eagle’s ascent into excellence and pay tribute to the school’s rich history.
The eagle emblem has been widely used for many years by the school. The U.S. Postal Service and the National Recovery Administration, during the Roosevelt era, also adopted a variation of it, as did the U.S. Army.
The symbol of the eagle, which was based on the traditional heraldic coats of arms of European countries, was misappropriated by worldwide white supremacist groups, neo-Nazis, and other extremist organizations after World War II. However, in the 1920s, it became the symbol of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Rabbi Dorsch said he was “surprised” by the similarity between the logo of the new school and the symbol of the Nazi. This went through several pairs of eyes.
He said that there is a lack of awareness in the Cobb district school and the Jewish community about the long way their relationship has to go.
The district of Cobb stopped offering the program after a resolution was passed banning the teaching of critical race theory, which is not taught in schools nor does it teach anything. This accentuated the end of the ADL’s program, Hate For No Place, which was aimed at stopping all forms of bullying and bias, and helping to create a welcoming community school initiative.
ADL has been trying to resume the Hate For No Place program in all other school districts in the metro area of Cobb since no changes have been reported since the decision was made, according to a spokeswoman.
“I believe it was unintentional,” expressed Dorsch, acknowledging the worries of his congregants and the broader Jewish community regarding the apparent resemblance between the elementary school’s logo and the Nazi symbol. “A portion of me feels sorrowful that it requires antisemitism to unite the community. I desire for my congregation to exhibit the same level of enthusiasm for the positive developments within the Jewish community.”