ATLANTA, Georgia. (CBS46) – Families in Cobb County have shared in shock and disbelief over the new school logo, which they believe is very reminiscent of Nazi paraphernalia.
In an email to parents on Monday, East Side Elementary unveiled an eagle logo design with the letters “ES” underneath.
Amanda Flax, a Jewish mother with a child at the school, said the emblem is very similar to the Nazi war eagle.
“Several people said, ‘Oh, that can’t be true, you must be kidding,'” Flaks said. “People in the Jewish community are really upset.”
The Nazi War Eagle was designed by the Nazi Party in the 1920s. The eagle sits on a swastika and is a symbol of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
A spokesman for the Cobb County School District said the design is based on the wings of a U.S. Army colonel’s eagle.
“It’s very strange for me,” Flax said. “Why are we making the elementary school logo on military symbols?”
Flux said her frustration increased after the director sent an additional message a few hours later explaining that the logo had been “put on hold” but not necessarily removed.
A notice sent to East Side Elementary School families reads:
“We recently introduced a new set of school logos. The school is aware of the concerns about these logos and as such we have paused to review this feedback. We will review the logos immediately to determine any necessary changes. Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our school, and we appreciate those who take the time to share their thoughts.”
“For me, there’s a power on the other side that says it’s okay and we’re just giving you a breather so you guys run out of gas – you’re out of breath so we can hold it in place,” Flax said. . .
A county spokesperson told CBS46 that the rollout of the logo has stopped and is under review.
“We understand and fully agree that resemblance to Nazi symbols is unacceptable,” the spokesman said. Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our schools. We appreciate those who take the time to share their thoughts and we will ensure that all suggestions are considered as changes are considered.”
Families are wondering how this was approved in one of the country’s largest school districts amid heightened concern over anti-Semitic incidents that jumped 133 percent in Georgia last year, including swastika and “Heil Hitler” vandalism and Nazi salutes at district schools Cobb.
Flux urged the school board to do more.
“The Cobb County School District has a big problem with these kinds of issues,” Flaks said. “We need to pay attention and some big changes need to be made to the school board.”
Across the street from a school littered with criticism, synagogue leaders received another call from worried parents.
Marty Gilbert, executive director of the Etz Chaim congregation, said several families from an East Side elementary school also worship at the synagogue.
“We all need to do more. The hate doesn’t go away,” Gilbert said. “We have to be vigilant and deal with him when he appears.”
Gilbert said he had spoken to the headmaster on the phone and was expecting a new logo design.
“She took my concerns to heart, took them seriously and was going to address them,” he said.
However, many in the community are still waiting for an appropriate apology.
“The correct answer should be: ‘That was a mistake, we’re sorry, we’re going to do something else.’ And we didn’t hear that,” said Flax, who emailed the director on Tuesday. “She apologized for being affected in a way that feels like no apology.”
An assessment by the Anti-Defamation League found that the design is not a Nazi symbol; however, the organization issued a caution.
“It’s important to listen to the voices of community members, especially given the significant increase in reported hate crimes and anti-Semitic incidents in the state and region,” said Eitan Davidson, ADL’s Southeast Regional Director.
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