A giant swastika formed out of large white tiles was found on a South San Francisco football field after a high school graduation ceremony.
Custodians at El Camino High School discovered the 10-yard-wide swastika on June 1 near midfield, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It was formed sometime after the school’s graduation ceremony on the afternoon of May 29, and was removed the day it was found. The image was created with interlocking tiles that were positioned underneath chairs to protect the 1-year-old artificial turf field during the ceremony.
Seth Brysk, the S.F.-based director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific Region, strongly condemned the incident as a “vile expression of hatred.”
The ADL has been in contact with school officials and South San Francisco police, who are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
“Creating and displaying a large swastika like this on public school property is really shocking and repugnant,” Brysk said. “This is a hate symbol, one that targets the Jewish community.”
Local residents reportedly noticed the swastika over the weekend, with some taking photos to document it.
“When I saw a giant swastika on the field, I was really pissed off,” Robin Braun Belinsky, who is Jewish, told the Chronicle. “It was an ugly thing to see — really jarring.”
Though there have been recent incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti on college campuses, including at U.C. Davis and Stanford this year, Brysk wasn’t aware of recent incidents at area high schools. The Chronicle article noted “it’s unclear if it was an ignorant prank or something more hateful.”
While acknowledging that it took time and effort for the vandals to construct the swastika, Brysk said the incident might be difficult to pursue as a hate crime be-cause there wasn’t apparent damage to property. — jta & drew himmelstein