The rollout of a new logo for an Atlanta-area elementary school has been put on hold after parents noted similarities to a Nazi symbol, though a school district said the design was based on the wings of eagle of a US Army colonel.
The Cobb County School District said Tuesday it had halted distribution of the new East Side Elementary School logo in Marietta after being condemned on social media.
The logo features an eagle, the school’s mascot, over the school’s initials ES.
The Nazi eagle, which was developed in the 1920s and later became a symbol for white supremacists, depicts an eagle holding a swastika in its talons.
Georgia’s second-largest school district announced plans to delay the new logo while “immediately considering necessary changes.”
“We understand and strongly agree that the similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable, although this design is based on the US Army Colonel’s eagle wings, stakeholder input has been and continues to be be important to our schools,” the statement said.
A message to parents on Monday informed them of the new logo, saying it was chosen to “represent the eagle soaring towards excellence and to honor the history of our great school”.
The district worked with all schools to create logos, the post adds. But the design drew a quick reaction on social media.
“I don’t want to see my kids wearing this on their shirts,” Mike Albuquerque, father of two students who will be attending school next year, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Really, it’s a big oversight by the county and everyone involved in the process who looked at this, not to point out that it looks like Nazi iconography. Or maybe, who knows, someone one called him and he was not heard.
East Side Elementary is across the street from a synagogue. Rabbi Amanda Flaks told WSB-TV she had to look twice at the design.
“I thought, ‘That sounds weird. It makes me feel uncomfortable, “and I came back to it many times and felt more and more uncomfortable and sick each time,” Flaks said, noting that the war eagle had was used by the Nazis during World War II and currently by neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups.
Flaks said she contacted the school and got an apology from the principal, along with photos of what the school district said the logo was based on. She said she was hurt on many levels, adding: “My children are the great-grandchildren of someone who fled the Nazi regime in Germany and survived the Holocaust.”
Stacy Efart said as a parent and member of the Jewish community, she was outraged.
“I want to see the logo not just removed, I want a direct apology to our community. Not just the Jewish community, but the whole community,” Efart said.
The logo controversy is just the latest related to anti-Semitism in Cobb schools. Last month, a group began posting bright pink billboards in subway Atlanta urging people to fight anti-Semitism, in part in response to incidents last school year.
Graffiti depicting swastikas was found at two Cobb County high schools during Jewish holidays. Several Cobb middle schoolers were disciplined earlier this year for sharing anti-Semitic images on social media.
Anti-Semitic incidents in Georgia more than doubled between 2020 and 2021, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Georgia recorded 49 incidents in 2021.
“This is not the first time that schools in Cobb County have been deaf to anti-Semitism,” Dov Wilker, Atlanta area director of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement about the logo design.
“Pretending anti-Semitism doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. The children who attend Cobb County schools – and their families – deserve better. »