Swastika at Trinity HS latest racist incident in west suburban schools

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (WLS) -- A community is concerned after a swastika was found in the bathroom of Trinity High School in west suburban River Forest.

There have been racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents at three Chicago-area schools over the past week.

Tuesday at Trinity High School in River Forest, someone scratched a swastika in the back of a bathroom stall door.

"Any expression of hate or intolerance is absolutely unacceptable in our Trinity community," said Dr. Corinne Lally Benedetto, president of Trinity High School.

Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise at schools across the country.

"When you are dealing with younger kids especially my sense is on most situations they don't fully understand fully what their actions are doing," said Lonnie Nasastir, Midwest regional director for the Anti-Defamation League. "At this point of time we need to make it an educational moment and explain to them why this is so offensive."

Students could face more than disciplinary actions at their schools. The 14-year-old boy accused of sending an image of a swastika to students on their cell phones during a school assembly last week at Oak Park and River Forest High School faced a judge Wednesday morning. He's charged with harassment through electronic communication and disorderly conduct.

"I think there is a larger cultural moment going on right now where a lot of things that people thought were mostly gone are getting really surfaced in new ways," said Dr. Amanda Lewis, director of the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. She said parents need to take the lead on teaching their kids about race.

"One of the things that we all need to do as adults is to be much more courageous about what's actually going on in the world around them at every level and not just parents of color," she said.
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