String of antisemitic vandalism continues at Whitman HS


Photo courtesy of Kristin Mink via Twitter

Walt Whitman High School’s sign on Whittier Boulevard was found vandalized with an antisemitic message on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Walt Whitman High School was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti Friday night, Dec. 16. The spray painted message, found Saturday morning, read “Jews Not Welcome,” and is part of a trend of a rise in antisemitic messages found throughout the community. The vandalism came two days before the first night of Hanukkah.

Walt Whitman’s principal, along with several other staff members, also reported receiving an antisemetic message in their email inbox from an unknown sender on Sunday.

Earlier in November, police found a swastika spray painted onto a brick wall on Old Georgetown Road, along with other antisemetic messages and symbols. WJ itself was also vandalized with antisemetic and homophobic vandalism in October of 2021.

Officials at the school, county, state and federal level made public statements condemning the vandalism and antisemetic behavior.

“This behavior is abhorrent, extremely hurtful and will not be tolerated at Walt Whitman High School. We immediately notified the Montgomery County Police, who are actively investigating the incident … While we are deeply disturbed and disappointed by what occurred today, it will not deter us from our collective mission to end antisemitism,” Whitman Principal Robert Dodd said.

Other officials who spoke out against the vandalism included county council members, MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight, Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin and governor Larry Hogan.

Students from WJ expressed solidarity with Whitman students and expressed their desire for change.

“It really hurts to see a community close to my own display antisemetic acts, especially as a Jewish person. I hope I don’t see actions like this happening again, especially in MCPS,” sophomore Dylan Himelfard said.

The incident reflects a rising trend in the community and also in the nation of antisemitism and antisemetic messaging. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the number of reported antisemetic incidents is the highest it has ever been since they began tracking in 1979.