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Students at elite, private Washington school popular with kids of lib pols, project swastikas during assembly

Perry Stein

By Perry Stein The Washington Post

Published March 8, 2019

Students at elite, private Washington school popular with kids of lib pols, project swastikas during assembly
WASHINGTON - High school students at the elite Sidwell Friends School displayed swastikas during an afternoon assembly Wednesday, the head of the private academy informed families in a letter.


The incident happened during an interactive portion of a presentation about a student-run nonprofit that uses soccer to build community among refugee children in the Washington region, according to the letter. The presenter had students use Kahoot, an online game that allows people to build their own quizzes, to answer questions.


Students responded by using their cellphones, and their answers were projected onto large screens. The projections were quickly turned off when an administrator saw that two of the students' usernames included swastikas. Several other usernames expressed racist views of Asians and Native Americans, according to the letter.


"I am disappointed, dismayed, and deeply sorry that such an incident could take place at our School," Bryan Garman, the head of the school, wrote in the letter to Sidwell families. "Racism and anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in this community."


Garman said the school has launched a "thorough investigation" to identify the students responsible for the racist and anti-Semitic messages.


HuffPost first reported the incident.


Sidwell is among the most prestigious private schools in the country, educating the children of presidents and powerful Washingtonians for generations. President Barack Obama's oldest daughter is a graduate, and his younger daughter is a senior there. President Theodore Roosevelt's son attended the school, as did Richard Nixon's daughters. Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, is a graduate.



Tuition at the Quaker school costs more than $42,000 a year.


This isn't the first time a swastika has been found at Sidwell this academic year.


Ellis Turner, associate head of the school, said in November that a teacher led an etymology lesson about the naming of the Nazi political party. The teacher did not erase his notes from the whiteboard, and, after the class, someone found a swastika drawn next to the notes.


"We were unable to identify the person who drew the swastika and could not establish the context in which it was drawn," Turner wrote in an email.

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