December 4, 2018
Dear Ridgewood Public Schools Parents, Guardians and Staff:
On Monday evening I was informed by Ridgewood High School Principal Dr. Thomas Gorman that last night a swastika and Star of David graffiti were found on the school campus. These symbols were carved in a stall in the girls’ bathroom. The incident was immediately reported to the Ridgewood Police Department and is being investigated at this time.
This incident is highly shocking and disturbing. While it seems to follow a copycat pattern of recent instances of swastikas found on the campuses of other schools in our Bergen County area, in no way does the repeat nature of this episode at one of our schools diminish the egregious behavior of the person or persons who committed this act, nor the seriousness with which our police and my administration are approaching the investigation and follow-up.
Please know that incidents of this nature cannot, and will not, be tolerated in the Ridgewood Public Schools. Our district’s zero tolerance policy for actions of bias is equally important to our proactive mission of promoting a culture of wholeness and communal well-being in our schools. We work very hard in all of our schools, every day, to promote a climate of respect for the dignity of all human beings regardless of race, religion, or creed. We can take pride in the many programs we have in place to help with that goal. This incident reinforces the need for such programs and the determination to succeed all the more. In this case, I am proud to say that it was a student who discovered the graffiti — which was small in size and not easily visible — and reported it.
Perhaps you will find an opportunity for family dialogue on this topic, including the importance of standing up for zero tolerance. I encourage you to speak with your children and to reach out to your school principal or to me with any specific areas of concern.
I will continue to share with you any relevant update from the Ridgewood Police Department as I am able, within the normal constraints of the investigation and privacy laws.
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools