Swastika burned into lawn at Dayton school

A week earlier, a black teacher noted that three trick-or-treaters came to his home dressed as KKK members.

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DAYTON — The Columbia County Sheriff’s office is investigating the burning of a swastika shape into the lawn outside of Dayton Elementary School last week.

Deputies received a call the night of Nov. 6 of a small grass fire on the Third Street side of the school. A teacher who lives across the street reported the incident.

When the fire department and deputies arrived they found a swastika burned into the grass, according to sheriff’s office spokesperson Dian Ver Valen.

The swastika was the emblem on the flag of Nazi Germany, responsible for the genocidal Holocaust of Jews and other minorities during World War II.

Dayton Schools Superintendent Doug Johnson described the burning as “unsettling.”

The incident came a week after a black schoolteacher in Dayton noted that three Halloween trick-or-treaters came to his door dressed like members of the Ku Klux Klan. The teacher declined to comment to a Union-Bulletin reporter.

Johnson said the school district has no reason to believe that the swastika was connected to the trick-or-treaters, at least one of whom was a Dayton High School student.

“We’ve been working with that student and their parent on the matter,” said Johnson, who said he could not comment on any disciplinary action because of student privacy.

Deputies are still investigating the swastika burning and have no suspects at this time.

“We haven’t heard anything further. It hasn’t been a topic of discussion or anything that I’m aware of,” said Johnson.

Rachel Alexander can be reached at rachelalexander@wwub.com or 509-526-8363.

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