Bullard HS investigating chairs arranged into Nazi symbol in band hall

Published on Friday, 14 February 2014 15:11 - Written by

BY KENNETH DEAN, kdean@tylerpaper.com

BY FAITH HARPER,fharper@tylerpaper.com

BY REBECCA HOEFFNER,rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

BULLARD -- A discovery by a Bullard High School staff member this week prompted the principal to scold his band students and to express the disdain behind the symbol used by Hitler's Nazis.

Bullard High School Principal Scott Franks said the discovery in the band hall of the chairs being arranged in the form of a large Nazi Swastika was the worst situation he has had to deal with to date in his seven-year tenure. 

"I am not happy, and this is under investigation at this time," he told the Tyler Morning Telegraph, which received a photo from a reader and called the school about the incident. "I am taking this very serious and I am not happy at all."

Franks said upon learning of the chair arrangement, he sat down the high school band students and had a serious talk with them about the symbol, the Holocaust and World War II.

"We had a discussion with the students and explained to them the meaning behind this symbol and the lives lost fighting against that symbol including the lives of eight Bullard citizens," he said.

Franks said he did not know if the students responsible acted out of hate or was just trying to be funny, but he felt the discussion was needed to educate the students.

But despite using the incident as a teachable moment, Franks said there will be consequences for those responsible.

While he could not say if the students could face suspension, he did indicate some type of punishment would be forthcoming.

"We are investigating this thoroughly and when we learn who is responsible they will be disciplined according to our policy and guidelines," he said.“

As much as it probably was a prank, it certainly depicts a lack of understanding of what a Swastika means, not just in Jewish history, but in world history,” said Rabbi Alan Learner of Congregation Ahavath Achim in Tyler. “The Swastika is a symbol of oppression and tyranny. It shows a lack of empathy and compassion on the children’s part. They certainly need to be educated to understand the offense.”

Learner went on to say that he considers creating a Swastika a hate crime and that his father experienced anti-Semitism in the 50s in Milwaukee, but Learner himself has never experienced it in East Texas.