Jul 20, 2022 - News

School logo criticized for resemblance to Nazi imagery

logo
The new East Side Elementary School logo. Images: Cobb County School District

The Cobb County School District is going back to the drawing board after a newly designed school logo sparked controversy for its resemblance to an image from Nazi Germany.

Driving the news: East Side Elementary School on Monday unveiled its new logo in a message to parents.

  • The logo featured an eagle, the school's mascot, spreading its wings and holding a circle featuring the letters ES.

A parent on Twitter said that it resembled the Nazi Eagle, which was developed in the 1920s that later became the "symbol of the German government after the Nazis took power," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

  • The symbol is still used by some white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups, the ADL says.

What they're saying: Cobb schools spokesperson Nan Kiel said in an emailed statement that the logo implementation has been halted and the district is "reviewing needed changes."

  • "We understand and strongly agree that similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable," she said. "Although this design was based on the U.S. Army colonel's eagle wings, stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our schools."

Marty Gilbert, the executive director of Congregation Etz Chaim, a synagogue across the street from the school, told Axios that he expressed concerns about the logo to East Side principal Maria Clark.

  • Gilbert said Clark told him that the design was not created with any ill will.
  • "I take her at her word," he said.

Yes, and: Stacy Fox, director of communication strategy for the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast office, said in a statement that Cobb schools should listen to community concerns "considering the vast increase in reported hate crimes and antisemitic incidents in the state and region."

  • Fox said reported antisemitic incidents in Georgia more than doubled between 2020 (16) and 2021 (40).

Context: Incidents of antisemitism have been reported over the last several years in the Cobb County School District, the latest of which occurred last year when swastikas were drawn on bathroom walls at Pope and Lassiter high schools.

  • Following the swastika vandalism, a divided Board of Education adopted a resolution denouncing racism and antisemitism.
  • That resolution received criticism because some felt antisemitism deserved its own resolution and that the district didn’t specify what it will do to fight bigotry.
  • "Pretending that antisemitism doesn’t exist won’t make it go away," Dov Wilker, regional director for the American Jewish Committee's Atlanta office, told Axios in a statement. "The children who attend Cobb County schools — and their families — deserve better.”

Of note: The district in 2021 removed the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place For Hate program after school board members approved a resolution opposing critical race theory.

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