February 4, 2019
A photo of a swastika in blue spray paint on the outside of Centennial High School appeared Feb. 4 in social media postings. The vandalism was discovered when school employees arrived that Monday morning.
“I am especially disgusted that this perpetrator or group of perpetrators painted a swastika, a historic and extreme emblem of hatred, on our school,” Centennial’s Principal Anthony Newbold wrote in a letter addressed to “Centennial Family.”
He wrote, “Let me be extremely clear, graffiti and school vandalism will not be tolerated, and our community rejects the hatred these symbols represent. Be assured that as Centennial Knights, we find these actions offensive and completely against our beliefs as an open and accepting school community,” Newbold continued.
In a letter to teachers and staff, Newbold wrote, “An activity bus, the main building and entrance, a trailer for band, signs, the weight room, and the stadium areas were all vandalized. While all of this was disturbing, what was reported later was worse. These perpetrators also painted two swastikas on the stones in the front of our building.”
Wendy Frank, a Centennial parent, told WSB-TV News, “I’m horrified. I’m so sad and I’m furious. I want them to know this hurts many, many, many people. Not just Jewish people, not just kids at Centennial High School, it hurts our whole community.”
School staff cleaned up the vandalism within the day.
“Fulton County Police did investigate the vandalism thoroughly, yet unfortunately, was not able to find enough evidence to make an arrest of the perpetrators,” Brian Noyes, chief communications officer for the Fulton County school district, told the AJT in December.
Within a week of the event, the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism held a town hall meeting at Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs.
Centennial High School worked with the Anti-Defamation League to become a certified “No Place for Hate” school. The school also took part in the Holocaust remembrance “Daffodil Project,” which Noyes said will become an annual ninth grade class project.
Georgia is among the states that requires teaching about the Holocaust in school curricula, in certain grades and coursesl, but also is among a handful of states without a hate crimes law, something that parents interviewed by local media said was needed.