ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — Cobb County families have shared shock and disbelief at a new school logo they say closely resembles Nazi paraphernalia.
In an email to parents Monday, East Side Elementary unveiled the logo design of an eagle with the letters “ES” underneath.
Amanda Flaks, a Jewish mother with a child in school, said the emblem looked a lot like a Nazi war eagle.
“I had a few people say, ‘Oh, this can’t be real, you have to be kidding,'” Flaks said. “People in the Jewish community are really upset.”
The Nazi War Eagle was developed by the Nazi Party in the 1920s. The eagle sits atop a swastika and has been a symbol for neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
A Cobb County School District spokesperson said the design was based on the U.S. Army Colonel’s eagle wings.
“To me, it’s very strange,” Flaks said. “Why are we making a logo for a primary school on military symbols? »
Flaks said his frustration deepened after the principal sent a follow-up message a few hours later explaining that the logo had been “paused” – but not necessarily taken down.
The notice sent to families at East Side Elementary reads:
“We recently introduced a new set of school logos. The school is aware of the concerns about these logos and so we paused to consider these comments. We will immediately review the logos to determine what changes are needed. Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our school, and we appreciate those who have taken the time to share their thoughts. »
“To me, there’s a force on the other side that says it’s okay and we’re just giving you a break to drop you out of gas – out of breath for us to hold it in place,” Flaks said. .
A district spokesperson told CBS46 the logo rollout has been halted and is being reviewed.
“We understand and strongly agree that the similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable,” the spokesperson said. “Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our schools. We appreciate those who have taken the time to share their thoughts and will ensure that all contributions are considered as changes are considered. »
Families are wondering how it got approved in one of the nation’s largest school districts amid heightened concerns about anti-Semitic incidents that jumped 133% in Georgia last year, including swastika vandalism and “Heil Hitler” and Nazi Salutes in Cobb County Schools.
Flaks called on the school board to do more.
“The Cobb County School District has a big problem with issues like this,” Flaks said. “We have to be careful and big changes have to be made at the school board.”
In front of the school awash with criticism, leaders of a synagogue received a different type of call from concerned parents.
Marty Gilbert, executive director of Congregation Etz Chaim, said a number of East Side Elementary families also worship at the synagogue.
“We all need to do more. The hate is not going away,” Gilbert said. “We have to be vigilant and deal with it when it happens.”
Gilbert said he spoke to the school principal on the phone and was waiting for a new logo design.
“She took my concerns to heart and took them seriously, and was going to address them,” he said.
However, many community members are still waiting for a proper apology.
“The correct answer should be, ‘That was a mistake, we’re so sorry, we’re going to do something different. And we didn’t hear that,'” Flaks, who corresponded with the principal in an email, said. e-mail direct Tuesday.”She apologized for being affected in this way, which seems like a non-apology.”
An assessment by the Anti-Defamation League found that the design is not a Nazi symbol; however, the organization has issued warnings.
“Listening to the concerns of community members is essential, especially given the sharp increase in reported hate crimes and anti-Semitic incidents in the state and region,” said Eytan Davidson, Regional Director of the Southeast ADL.
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