Text of the Twitter message alleging an antisemitic incident during a visit by a Staples High School group to Dachau, site of a Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

By John Schwing

WESTPORT — School officials are investigating a message on Twitter, posted by the group StopAntisemitism, alleging that during a recent a tour by a Staples High School group of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp in Germany, one of the students told a Jewish classmate: “You should have burned here.”

When the tour group returned to Westport, according to the tweet posted Friday afternoon on Twitter, nothing was done by school officials, the StopAntisemitism message alleges.

The allegation was addressed by Supt. of Schools Thomas Scarice in a Saturday evening email message to the local school community.

Scarice, who said he routinely refrains from publicly addressing messages posted on social media, said, “I am doing so now because I want our school community to know that we take claims of antisemitism and other hate-based conduct extremely seriously.”

However, the superintendent said, an investigation of the allegation by Staples Principal Stafford Thomas and his staff so far has not “found any evidence to support the claim.”

A tweet in the thread of responses to the original StopAntisemitism message, by Max Sussman, said that during four years attending Staples he found swastikas were often scrawled in the restrooms.

He said when he complained to school officials, “I was ignored.” The high school, he added, has “a history of turning a blind eye.”

Sussman also posted photos of the swastika graffiti he said he found in Staples’ restrooms.

In further comments on the allegation concerning the Dachau tour, Scarice said, “I urge anyone in the community with additional information about this matter to share it promptly with the administration so that we may review it as part of our ongoing investigation.”

“Whenever allegations of hate-based conduct, harassment or discrimination come to the attention of our administration, we treat them with the utmost seriousness, investigate them and find appropriate ways to address substantiated claims,” Scarice said.

“In the past we have successfully worked side-by-side with our local clergy and the ADL to help work through difficult moments in our school community. We stand ready to do that again should another incident come to light that warrants attention of that nature.”

Citing a Board of Education policy calling for elimination of hate-based behavior in Westport schools, adopted two years ago, Scarice said, “As school administrators we take extremely seriously our responsibility to create and maintain a physically, emotionally, and intellectually safe educational environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination, and hate-based conduct.”

John Schwing, the Westport Journal consulting editor, has held senior editorial and writing posts at southwestern Connecticut media outlets for four decades. Learn more about us here.