‘Human Swastika’ Stunt Rattles Ojai Middle School

Parents and community members in Ojai, California say they’re disturbed by a hateful incident at Matilija Junior High School and they feel the school should do more to address the problem of racism and bigotry in the community.

On Dec. 14, Matilija parents received a letter from school administrators informing them that 12 students had formed a “human swastika” on campus and then posted a photo of it on social media. The post included hateful language and threats which were reported to police. They determined there was no active danger or crime committed.

“The Matilija administration and staff are beyond saddened that this occurred,” the letter stated, adding, “this incident has been a profound learning experience for each student involved.”

Ojai Unified School District Supt. Andy Cantwell said disciplinary action was taken and that the school is reviewing options to increase awareness and education about these type of issues. But some parents believe the school should have done more.

“I just can’t believe there’s no parent meeting, nothing,” one parent told the Los Angeles Times. “My hope is that there’s exposure, because I think that the school needs to know how seriously they should be taking this. This is way more serious than sending out a small letter.”

That same parent said race issues remain a factor in the community and that their own children, who are black, have been subjected to racial slurs.

The school has said parents can expect more discussion and outreach on the matter now that regular classes have resumed.