A public school in Maryland has apologized after a Nazi swastika flag was seen hanging in a window.
A photo of the flag went viral after it was posted on Facebook by Nicole Hopkins, who had arrived for a basketball game at the Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in the city of Frederick last Friday night when she spotted the swastika on display in classroom window.
“I looked at it and I thought wait a minute. I looked at it again, I looked at my boyfriend and I was like ‘is that what I think it is?” Hopkins told local outlet the Frederick News-Post.
She then snapped a picture because she felt no one would believe the flag had been there without proof.
According to an email sent to the school community from principal Daniel Lippy, the flag was used in a class studying World War II and was left hanging in the classroom.
“We immediately responded to the concern and removed the flag,” Lippy said in the email. “We share the concerns in the community about the feelings of hatred and intolerance that the flag represents. We pride ourselves on accepting all members of our society and this message is central to who we are as Patriots.”
The email went on to say that the photo captured “certainly gives a different impression” and that the school sent its apologies to the community at large.
“We have taken steps to ensure that this never occurs again,” Lippy said in the email.
The principal concluded: “I know it will be used as a learning lesson for staff and students. I on behalf of the school apologize for it happening.”
Frederick Country Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban said in a statement on Tuesday that the school district would “take appropriate action” to mitigate damage after the incident.
“FCPS sincerely apologizes to our community for this incident as we share your feelings regarding the hatred and intolerance message this flag represents,” Alban said. “We understand the seriousness of this matter and care deeply for our community…which celebrates diversity.”