Birmingham Schools Superintendent Condemns Hate Speech


Birmingham Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad sharply condemned anti-Semitic graffiti and hateful language that has been displayed in some areas of the school in a letter March 1 to parents, saying that while media accounts have "relayed the facts, but have been unable to adequately express our district's condemnation due to these cowardly acts."

In February, Patch staff reporter Beth Dalbey wrote about Derby Middle School authorities finding a disturbing message using manipulative letters arranged to spell "Heil Hitler" and a swastika. A week later, administrators at the Birmingham school sent an email blast notifying parents that graffiti hate speech had been found on posters, bathroom walls and student work displayed in hallways. A locker was vandalized, and a musical instrument removed and damaged beyond repair.

While school officials are working with the Birmingham Police Department on the vandalism reports, several students have been disciplined in the swastika incident, school spokeswoman Marcia Wilkinson told The Birmingham Eccentric.

"We do not tolerate racism and anti-Semitism, or any other form of -ism for that matter, in any form," Nerad wrote in his letter. "We do not tolerate bullies or those who disrespect others. We do not tolerate behaviors that devalue or denigrate anyone. Our preferred future is one where every child, parent and staff member is accepted, respected and celebrated."

He said the district should "double down on our diversity and character education efforts."

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