- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2022

A suburban Atlanta school district said it would scrap a proposed elementary school logo whose eagle design critics said evoked images of Nazi insignia. The reversal followed complaints from area Jewish residents, including the executive director of a synagogue across the street from the school.

The proposed logo for East Side Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia, depicted a silhouette of an eagle, head facing right, and the letters ”ES” below.

Local parents and Jewish community leaders pointed out that the school logo was evocative of the “Nazi Eagle” insignia adopted by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party led by Adolf Hitler and responsible for the deaths of more than 6 million Jews and others in concentration camps during World War II.

One online area parent, who goes by the name “Stacy E,” wrote on Twitter: “Today my child’s school announced a new logo. Our Jewish family has always felt loved and welcome there. Today they announced a new logo which looks similar to another well-known image. I think (& hope) this was an honest oversight.”

American Jewish Committee regional director Dov Wilker said in a statement, “It is troubling that nobody in the Cobb County schools recognized why this logo would be problematic, especially for a school located across the street from a synagogue. The school should do more than review the logo. It must be discarded immediately.”

The district quickly responded, said Marty Gilbert, executive director of Congregation Etz Chaim, a Conservative Jewish synagogue that claims 600 area families as members. He said “a good amount” of those families have children who attend East Side Elementary, and that the synagogue has had “a longstanding relationship” with the school.

Mr. Gilbert said he brought the issue of the logo design to school principal Maria Clark via email on Monday afternoon. The next morning, Ms. Clark called, apologized and said the school was “not looking to offend anybody,” he added.

“This kind of stuff happens, and we have to be vigilant and call it out when we see it,” Mr. Gilbert said.

In an email to The Washington Times, a spokesperson for the Cobb County School District said, “Earlier this week, we learned of concerns about a new logo at East Side Elementary. The roll-out of this logo has been halted, and we are immediately reviewing needed changes. We understand and strongly agree that similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable. 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.”

This is not the first time Cobb County Schools have had an issue with antisemitic claims. In September 2021, a boy’s bathroom at Pope High School was defaced with swastikas and the words “Hail [sic] Hitler.” The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter of protest to the district.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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