A Virginia public school district has officially apologized for a logo resembling a swastika placed on T-shirts distributed to staff members at a professional development conference.
What are the details?
“We are deeply sorry for this mistake and for the emotions that the logo has evoked by its semblance to a swastika,” Hanover Public Schools Superintendent Michael Gill wrote in an apology Wednesday, according to WRIC-TV. “We condemn anything associated with the Nazi regime in the strongest manner possible.”
Gill wrote that he believed the shirt design was “created without any ill intent” by a teacher, the station said, and that the logo was intended to “represent four hands and arms grasping together” as a symbol of unity.
The superintendent also said the T-shirt was no longer being distributed and that the district was attempting to remove the logo from all conference materials, WRIC reported.
The station said images of the T-shirt made the rounds online Wednesday morning, which resulted in heavy criticism of the district.
How are folks reacting?
Rachel Anne Levy — who is Jewish as well as a Democrat candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in Hanover — criticized senior district officials, WRIC said.
“Note that Superintendent Mike Gill blames a teacher. Unacceptable,” Levy said, according to the station. “NOTHING like that logo goes out or gets approved without his or his PR guy Chris Whitley’s say so.”
Daniel Staffenberg, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, told WWBT-TV he is “angry” about the logo: “I understand why people are angry. I, myself, am angry. I hope this was a simple oversight because the resemblance, while it’s not an official swastika, the resemblance would have raised a flag for many.”
But a few commenting on the NBC News video report about the logo see things differently:
- “Some days the human race embarrasses me,” one commenter wrote. “To be clear, I’m referring to the people that are offended by a symbol design that looks ‘somewhat sorta kinda like’ a symbol of hate, but actually isn’t.”
- “Jeeze look into the clouds, and you’ll see different shapes,” another commenter said.
- “But we all acknowledge it’s NOT a swastika,” another commenter explained. “If you’ve ever designed a shirt you know it wasn’t intentional. In the design portal enter ‘unity’ and hundreds of these images are available.”
- “I’m offended by the white and blue colors,” another commenter quipped. “In fact I’m offended by me being offended.”