Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 officials are investigating another anti-Semitic incident at the school, the fourth in a series of hate speech incidents that have occurred within the past few weeks.
Earlier this morning, after 9 a.m., someone “AirDropped” the image of a swastika from somewhere in the high school’s auditorium to students’ cell phones during a Tradition of Excellence ceremony, according to an email sent to families Friday from Karin Sullivan, the district’s communications director.
“Administration and security are aware and are in full investigation mode,” Sullivan stated in the email. “We will provide more information as soon as we are able. Thanks to so many of you for your vigilance in reporting this immediately.”
This appears to be an instance of OPRF students having been “cyber-flashed,” which is the practice of sending unwanted and often offensive photos and videos to strangers through Apple’s AirDrop feature.
AirDrop allows Apple users to easily transfer files by way of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth between devices like Mac laptops, iPads and iPhones that are within close proximity to each other. In order to avoid getting unsolicited content in iPhone, click the “General” tab in iPhone Settings and select “AirDrop” near the top. Choose “Contacts only” or select to turn off the option to avoid receiving content altogether.
“The safety of your children and everyone in this building is our highest priority,” Sullivan added. “These incidents generate a great deal of email to the Board, superintendent, security, myself, and others. Please know that we read them all, but with a swiftly moving and broad investigation such as this, we are not always able to respond. Thank you for your understanding.”
Friday’s incident is the most recent in a string of racist and anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place on the OPRF campus in the last few weeks. Last week, officials discovered racist and anti-Semitic graffiti found in bathroom stalls and on a shed near the high school’s tennis courts. Those incidents are currently under investigation by Oak Park police and D200 officials.
Officials are also currently dealing with the fallout from an incident involving a teacher accused of saying the N— word in class last month. Students and parents have complained that the teacher was only given short administrative leave.
As a result of Friday’s swastika incident, OPRF teacher Anthony Clark announced that he is planning a Unite Against Hate March at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Clark said that the march will start at the high school’s main entrance, 201 N. Scoville Ave., and proceed to Harlem and Lake, where activists will hold a rally.
The district is asking anyone who discovers hate speech on the high school’s campus to call the Welcome Center at (708) 434-3125.