Students from Claremont Secondary involved in the use of a hate symbol at a grad party are working to make amends. This photo has been manipulated to blur the offensive symbol written on the back of a student. (Photo submitted)

Students from Claremont Secondary involved in the use of a hate symbol at a grad party are working to make amends. This photo has been manipulated to blur the offensive symbol written on the back of a student. (Photo submitted)

Claremont Secondary students make amends after hate symbol used at grad party

Families working with school administration, local rabbi, superintendent says

Parents and school administration took swift action after a student from Claremont Secondary was spotted wearing a hate symbol at a graduation party on June 20.

Dave Eberwein, superintendent of School District 63, explained that during the Saturday evening gathering in Saanich, students were taking part in a party game called “little white lies” where untrue statements are written on the back of each person’s shirt. During the game, one student drew a swastika symbol on the back of another student’s T-shirt.

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The symbol was worn for a short period of time before adults at the party noticed and asked the student to remove it, Eberwein said.

He emphasized that it was “a moment of careless indiscretion” but pointed out that “one never likes to see that symbol used in a careless manner.”

While the symbol wasn’t used to support the negative connotations associated with it, the intent “doesn’t excuse the behaviour,” Eberwein said.

It was “not very thoughtful … especially during these times,” he added, referencing protests taking place around the world against systemic racism.

Eberwein said the students involved felt terrible and wanted to make amends. The parents of both the student who wrote the symbol and the student who wore it have also been “involved in trying to right the ship.”

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The incident was “taken very seriously by the school” as it “never should have happened,” he said.

The students and parents are working with school administration and will be taking part in “lots of deep learning” about the symbol and its history with a local rabbi. Eberwein is hopeful the incident can be an opportunity to educate and make amends.

Claremont principal Peter Westhaver declined to comment when Black Press Media reached out on June 26.


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District of Saanich