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Teacher suspended for revoking college letter for student who made a swastika

Police said the student's act wasn't a hate crime.


Jessica Machado


Published Feb 6, 2017

A Massachusetts teacher has been suspended for withdrawing a college recommendation letter she wrote for a student after he posted a swastika on campus. 

In November, a Stoughton High School student caught another student making a swastika out of tape and placing it on a hallway wall. The student also allegedly made a comment about Hitler at the time. 

Though this was the second swastika-related incident at the school in less than a month, the police decided neither was a hate crime. The boys involved were punished, but a letter that teachers asked administrators to send home to parents explaining the incident was never written, according to the Boston Globe, which caused some uproar around campus, especially during a time when anti-Semitic hate crimes are on the rise. 

After one teacher called a college to withdraw her recommendation letter for the swastika-making student, she was suspended for 20 days. Two other teachers were sent disciplinary letters for discussing the incident—one did so in class and one among other teachers.

Schools Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi defended her disciplinary actions against the teachers in a letter she wrote to the staff, obtained by the Enterprise. “The student believed that he was being targeted, creating a hostile environment for him by members of the faculty because of his actions, despite having already been disciplined by the administration,” Rizzi said.

The Massachusettes Teachers Association is backing the teachers, however, calling the suspension an “injustice.” 

“Educators will not allow bigotry and hate to take hold in our schools,” Barbara Madeloni, the president of MTA, told the Enterprise. “Nor will we allow those who speak and act against hate speech to be silenced.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for the suspended teacher as she will go without work or pay on Thursdays and Fridays until April. 

H/T Huffington Post

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*First Published: Feb 6, 2017, 11:21 am CST