Students find ugly drawing in bathroom at Pike High School

(WTHR Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – At Pike High School, on the wall in a men’s room was an ugly find Thursday.

Student Brandon Turner said, "That looks ignorant to me. Really I don’t know why people would be doing that."

"I can’t even talk about that. That’s very very disrespectful," says another student.

Several swastikas drawn on the white and red tile walls and counter top were discovered by students Thursday morning and reported to the school.

"It was bad. You shouldn’t see that in a public high school. You shouldn’t see it anywhere,” says a Pike graduate who asked we not use his name.

He also talked about a photo taken last year at Pike. It shows then-band members forming a swastika with their bodies.

"It makes us feel wronged and not whole," said the Pike grad. "It takes away your sense of safety and security because there’s people like that in the world."

The Pike grad is from a family of Holocaust survivors. Also a member of the Carmel synagogue where vandals painted the Nazi symbol on a structure outside the temple in July.

"When it’s right there, happening right in front of your doorstep, it’s not the best."

"We have seen an uptick in the use of swastikas the last few years," says Lonnie Nasatir, the Midwest regional director of the Jewish Defense League. "We’ve been noticing a lot of them taking place in the school setting."

The Jewish Defense League spokesman says sometimes students don't know what the symbol means. He says it’s a chance for the school to educate.

"Some of the stories that we’ve had over the years with respect to the use of swastikas in the school setting sometimes they are perpetrated by people who quite frankly didn’t just understand what the meaning of the swastika is," said Nasatir. "They just knew it was controversial and will get peoples attention. And once you go in and you really kind of educate people on why the swastika has such a negative connotation, I think it can be a way to mitigate the chances of it happening again in the school."

Just as importantly he says "you’ve created an opportunity where people are really educated and they know that it is clearly a symbol of intimidation, of hatred, and they should think twice before they do it."

Pike Schools said it acted after last year’s band photo. In a written statement Thursday the district said "this type of discriminatory conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our school community."

Thursday’s bathroom graffiti drew this response from the school district:

"The graffiti was removed immediately and we are in the process of a full investigation. Behavior such as this violates our human dignity and anti-discrimination policies as well as our core values."