Abizarre incident took place at an Elementary School in Middlesex County of New Jersey on Dec. 4, 2012. As part of 3RD Grade School work children were asked to draw a symbol of a holiday they celebrate. Innocently an 8 yrs old drew a Hindu Swastik along with a Christmas Tree.
When the class teacher saw the drawing she knew it what significance it has for Hindus. But an ignorant Teacher Aid took strong offense to it. According to the people familiar with the incident; despite few other staff members telling the Teacher Aid that it is not Nazi Swastika she was not prepared to listen to any one. She kept on saying she has been offended and her religious feelings have been hurt.
It is hate towards her and her community. The Teacher Aid insisted that the 8 yrs old must get counseling right away and she was backed by the Principle. Without the knowledge and permission of the parents the child was counseled by the Counselor under racial bias.
The poor parent in the evening could not figure out why their 8 yrs old is so traumatized, scared and throwing up. In bits and pieces they were able to get some story from the child. Further, the child, in a traumatized voice asked them what the child had done wrong.
The parents were also lost why their 8 yrs old has been traumatized and harassed physically, emotionally and mentally in the name of Counseling for no reason that too without their knowledge and permission? Next day the couple met the Principle who told them that their child was doing a school project where a “staff member” got very upset for what was drawn on paper. The child got upset and was counseled but it was not on the directive of that “staff member.” The child must understand that “when you are out with other people they may see things differently”. What the child has drawn “Every where else it is used as a hate symbol”.
The parents tried to explain that it is a universal fact Swastik is just as sacred for Hindus as a cross for Christians or a Star of David for Jews. Then the Principle stated that if any child had drawn other religious symbols such as the Star of David or Cross of Jesus, then they would have been counseled the same way! Parent protested still they should have been asked for permission first.
Principle said that they are fully entitled to counsel any student for any reason without the permission of their parent. The parent told the Principle that only person that needed counseling is the staff member who they know was upset for no apparent reason because of ignorance and not prepared to understand the importance of Swastik for Hindus. On Dec.
9th parent filed a Complaint with the School Board and County School Superintendent against the Principle, Counselor and the Teacher Aid; demanding proper investigation into the conduct of all 3 and Teacher Aid must give written apology and must seek counseling from a Hindu Priest or a Scholar. In case she refuses to give written apology she must be dismissed.
It is very strange how come the Educators catering to the multi-religious society; Principle, Counselor and Teacher Aid are so ignorant about Hindu symbols? It was their basic responsibility as teachers to know that the Swastik symbol 3RD Grader drew originated in 2000BC and is not the symbol Swastika the right-facing and rotated distortion of Hindu Swastik, the Nazis has used. The one used by Nazi’s is markedly different and the differences are clearly visible to human eyes.
Hindu Swastik is always drawn with red vermillion and can be drawn on any surface including human body, on the head after complete head shave off of a child as per Hindu rituals. It is a symbol of faith and auspiciousness and used for all religious ceremonies including Hindu weddings. On the other hand Nazi Swastika is drawn with black in a white circle within a red square and it is a symbol of hate.
These Educators have also ignored the United States Supreme Court Ruling that “children cannot be viewed simply as miniature adults” because a child’s age is more than a chronological fact.” Rather, it is a fact that “generates commonsense conclusions about behavior and perception.’ “Children generally are less mature and responsible than adults.” “They often lack the experience, perspective and judgment to recognize and avoid choices that could be detrimental to them.” These Educators before traumatizing the 8 yrs old should have spoken to a Hindu Priest or the parent of the child concerning the matter for which they themselves are completely ignorant. This is a wake up call for the Indian community especially Hindus.
This is not the first incident where underage children of Hindu parents have been racially discriminated by the Educators. Black and Hispanic students go through racial discrimination by the Educators and now the Indian kids. Not just in Middlesex County but in other County Schools of New Jersey as well.
There is no accountability prescribed for the Educators and Administrators and it is so subjective that they can say anything and get away with it. In my mind the Board of Education is a puppet strung by the Superintendent, and have no idea of how students are treated, how teachers are evaluated but know how well to say Yeh or Nay or just keep shut. Respecting the Laws of the land concerning a minor and the wishes of the parent their names have been with held.
It is our sincere appeal to the community rather than wasting their energy and time to find out the parent; they should send their support for them via e-mail under the heading “Dec 4 Swastik Incident” to Middlesex County Executive School Superintendent Samuel Stewart’s Secretary Debra Hudson 732 249 2900 press 1 + Ext 3425 at (email@example.com).
Since Middlesex County is home to a large Hindu population; community must demand that all Educators in Middlesex County Schools must be educated about Hindu Religious Symbols keeping in mind that Hinduism is practiced by almost 1 Billion people around the world.