Vandalism over the weekend at Falls Church’s Mount Daniel Elementary School included a swastika slashed into one of the playground’s shade canopies. Falls Church City Public Schools’ superintendent Peter Noonan reported the vandalism in an email sent out to parents earlier Monday.
According to John Brett, the Schools’ director of communications, it appears vandals used a sharp object to cut up the shade canopy, with the swastika being a distinguishable emblem cut into the covering. After the markings were discovered by a member of the school’s staff during the lunch break, the canopy was immediately removed and police were contacted soon after. Brett doesn’t believe the markings were noticed by any children.
City of Falls Church Police are currently investigating the matter and are requesting that anyone with information to contact the police at 703-248-5053 (TTY 711).
The email Noonan sent to parents is included below:
“Dear FCCPS Community,
“I want to let you know about an act of vandalism that occurred sometime over the weekend to our new playground. During the lunch period today it was discovered, by a teacher, that one of the shade canopies was cut up with what appears to have been a sharp object. Further, one of the cuts made was in the shape of a swastika. The canopy was removed immediately by our maintenance crews, and the police were notified simultaneously. Next week, we are putting external cameras on the MDES school building so we can monitor the school site remotely.
“We are fairly certain children on the playground were unaware of the symbol because it was among a series of slashes in the canopy.
“This symbol of hate is unacceptable in our community and this incident does not reflect the values of our families or the Falls Church City Public Schools. We are deeply saddened by this event and will continue to educate our children to reflect the characteristics of caring, open-mindedness, reflection, and critical thinking.
“We are a community of people who care for and support each other, where our diversity is our strength, and our collective connection is a powerful force for good against hate.
“WE ARE FCCPS!
“The following site has resources that may be helpful in supporting your conversations with your children:
“Peter J. Noonan Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools”