Swastikas found at Hinsdale Middle School

Swastikas drawn in pencil were discovered in two separate incidents in the span 15 days at Hinsdale Middle School.

The first was discovered April 25 on a bathroom wall, and the second, drawn on a music stand, was reported by students Friday.

“This symbol of hate and intolerance has no place in our community, and I am disappointed by its presence at our school,” HMS Principal Cory Burke wrote in an email to parents Friday. “I want to assure you that I am taking this incident very seriously and am working diligently to investigate and address the situation.

“I am proud of the students who came forward today,” she added.

Burke sent parents an email after the first incident as well.

“Actions, symbols, or language that exclude or demean others will not be tolerated,” she wrote April 25. “We are taking every step to ensure that we identify the student and issue appropriate consequences. Since we are a community, please take this opportunity to speak with your student about the impact that an act of vandalism such as this can have on HMS.”

The school had planned to hold assemblies with a presentation called “Hate Has No Home Here,” which focus on identifying hateful behavior and empowering students to report it to a trusted adult, before the first incident occurred, said Jeffrey Alstadt, director of communications who oversees safety efforts in the district.

“We are going to continue to be transparent and use moments like this as teachable moments, because at the end of the day, our kids are great,” he said.

He also expressed gratitude for the partnership the district has with the Hinsdale Police Department, which was notified of the incidents.

Parents also received emails from Burke last week and this week about a report of a threat made by a student. An investigation uncovered no credible threat.

— by Pamela Lannom

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean