Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

California Middle Schoolers Create A Human Swastika On Campus

Nine students at a California middle school reportedly laid down on a field together, making the shape of a swastika, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The principal and vice principal of Matilija Junior High School sent a letter of concern to parents, explaining that 12 students were part of a group chat full of racist, sexual and threatening messages. One comment was about bringing knives to school.

“It brings us great pain to share with you, reprehensible student actions that have taken place over the course of the last few weeks,” read the letter, which was seen by the Times.

The administrators said they immediately partnered with police, which confirmed there is no active threat, according to the letter. The students responsible for the posts were punished within the school, but there were no criminal charges, Sergeant Shane Matthews of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told the Times.

One parent told the Times that she was upset the administration did not break up the human swastika or hold a meeting for parents. She also said there’s a lot of “subtle racism” in the city — her children, who are black, have has slurs hurled at them.

Another parent reported the swastika to Documenting Hate, which tracks hate crimes.

The Ojai Unified School District Superintendent Andy Cantwell said administrators were looking to hold “educational experiences to help bring more sensitivity and understanding to these topics.”

“It does not represent the character of our school. … It also doesn’t represent the character of these students,” Cantwell said. “They made very poor choices, not understanding the gravity of these symbols.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.