Only On: Manhattan Beach community fed up as symbols of hate continue to appear at local schools

A series of anti-Semitic graffiti messages in Manhattan Beach has the local Jewish community concerned, as the symbols of hate have continued to appear for a significant amount of time at local schools. 

In 2022 alone, there have been nine different reports of anti-Semitic incidents at Manhattan Beach Unified School District schools, most recently on Sept. 17 at Pennekamp Elementary School, where officials found hateful phrases on the walls.

The first symbols of hate were found in February inside of a bathroom stall at Mira Costa High School, showing a swastika and a Confederate flag drawn in what appears to be pen or pencil. Four days later, another symbol was found.  A week after that, another swastika was seen at Robinson Elementary School.

“The community’s had enough of sweeping it under the rug,” said Rabbi Joshua Kalev of the Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah. “We really want concrete steps to be taken.”

Rabbi Kalev said that the consistent appearance of these messages of hate have some children worried about going to school. 

“It’s almost like their innocence is being taken away, these are not conversations we want to be having with young elementary school students yet,” he said. “My teens have said to me as of late that they don’t feel comfortable wearing a Jewish star to school.”

A number of families attended the most recent school board meeting on Sept. 14, where they addressed the issues with passionate calls for a response. 

“I am beyond disturbed,” said one woman speaking at the board meeting. “I still have siblings, family members and younger friends who go to school here.”

MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes addressed the families stating that “antisemitism and hate acts of any kind have no place in our community or on our campuses.”

At the meeting, board members approved the installation of nearly $400,000 worth of security camera upgrades. 

Additionally, the district told CBS that in the last year they have sent staff members to the Museum of Tolerance, implemented diversity and inclusion programs, as well as adding dozens of books with information about The Holocaust. 

“It’s more than just graffiti,” Rabbi Kalev said. “We have to take this threat seriously, cause the last time we didn’t, six million of our people were killed.”

Leave a Comment