Swastika painted at Denver elementary school

Community comes together with messages of hope
Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 20, 2016

DENVER -- Neighbors in one Denver neighborhood woke up to a horrible sight this weekend: A swastika, spray-painted on one of the doors of an elementary school in Stapleton.

The photo, shared on Facebook, shows an orange swastika spray-painted on a black door at Isabella Bird Community School with the words “Die DJ can.”

The graffiti, left sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning, also covers the climbing structure and entire playground, according to Denver Public Schools spokesman Will Jones. 

It was not immediately clear what the motivation behind the graffiti was, but Denver police were on scene investigating the incident.

“This racist graffiti was left on the door of my children's elementary school last week. In my liberal neighborhood (Stapleton), in my liberal city (Denver), in my blue state (Colorado),” said a man who shared the photo on Facebook. “I am posting this to make the point that this is personal,” the man wrote before tying the graffiti to recent pro-Trump vandalism that has been reported across the country.

Denver Police told Denver-based KMGH they “don’t know who [did this] or why.”

A parent at the scene reportedly told officials that one of the phrases spray-painted was in German and translated to "we are Hitler youth," according to KMGH photojournalist Ryan O'Connor.

Early Sunday afternoon, dozens of people were at the school scrubbing off the graffiti and leaving messages of support on the walls with heart cutouts taped to the doors.

The Stapleton Jewish Life Center released a statement late Sunday afternoon, calling the vandalism a "deeply offensive act":

"We condemn this deeply offensive act and stand together with our Stapleton neighbors in opposition to this and all forms of hatred and discrimination. This type of hateful expression has no place in our society, and is not in any way a reflection of our neighborhood or of the Stapleton community. Since the inception of the Jewish Life Center, we have only seen inclusiveness and unity in our neighborhood and have experienced respect and enthusiasm for proud Jewish identity. ... It was heartwarming to see all the beautiful messages of love and support at the scene of the incident."

DPS officials are also doing their part to reassure parents that their mission is to provide the almost 90,000 students within their district with a safe space "where a student’s race, ethnicity, religion and immigration status do not create any barriers to that child’s education."

On Tuesday, officials released a fact sheet in several languages answering immigration-related questions in the aftermath of Donald Trump's shocking win almost two weeks ago. 

This most recent act of swastika-vandalism comes four days after a transgender woman’s car was vandalized with hate speech and a pro-Trump message in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Denver Police are still investigating that incident.