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School Officials Failed to Disclose Second Swastika at New Rochelle High School

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School Officials Failed to Disclose Second Swastika at New Rochelle High School

November 30, 2018 - 18:36
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School District waited two days to report   “Graffiti” which NRPD has since classified as a “hate crime”.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A previously unreported second swastika, described by police as a “3-inch swastika”, was found inside the New Rochelle High School Boys Locker Room moments after school security guards confirmed a report of what school officials later called a “4-inch swastika” in the same locker room.

The swastikas first came to light more than three weeks ago after this author notified school officials at 5:31 p.m. on November 7th of receiving a photo of the so-called “4-inch swastika”. Talk of the Sound withheld publication of the photo that day for an hour while school employees worked to obscure the swastikas.

The police report, obtained under a Freedom of Information request,  says school security staff responding  Cox’s report of the 4-inch swastika discovered the 3-inch swastika on the same wall of the same bathroom stall as the 4-inch swastika with “2012” carved under the 3-inch swastika.

The police report says a photograph was provided by Robert Cox of Talk of the Sound to School Security Director Bruce Daniele who notified Interim New Rochelle High School Principal Joseph Starvaggi who said to Daniele “he will take care of it.”

Starvaggi issued a statement via email blast to all New Rochelle High School staff the following day at about 8:30 a.m, with the subject heading “Graffiti”. He failed to disclose the second swastika in his email.

“Yesterday evening an anonymous reporter shared a picture of a swastika carved on a stall door in the boys locker room. We have made it unidentifiable and will investigate to see who possible (sic) did this.”

Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey issued a statement about the 4-inch swastika on the afternoon of November 8th but also failed to disclose the discovery of the 3-inch swastika:

“A four-inch swastika was found scratched into a bathroom door in the boys locker room at New Rochelle High School yesterday. School staff has taken action to make it unrecognizable and is looking at ways to cover it permanently.

We are disappointed by this act...”

A third swastika, described as drawn along a path within 50 feet of the school, only recently came to light after it was reported on social media by a New Rochelle resident in the fall of 2017.

The locker room incident occurred two weeks after 11 people were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th.

In her November 8th statement, Parvey said the incident was “under investigation” yet police were not contacted until November 9th, two days after the initial report.

The police report shows the school district reported the incident to police as a “past criminal mischief” (i.e., graffiti), similar to how Starvaggi described the incident to his staff. The police wrote up the crime as “criminal mischief - 4th Degree / as a hate crime”.

The District did not respond to a request for comment on why Parvey and Starvaggi did not disclose the second swastika in their November 8th statements or why neither Parvey or Starvaggi instructed security to report the incident to police until November 9th or why the school failed to disclose that the police classified the incident as a hate crime.