Georgia Elementary School’s New Logo Just A Tad Too Nazi
East Side Elementary in Marietta, Georgia, was all set to unveil its shiny new logo when the Cobb County School District put a freeze on the roll out. Some parents apparently noticed that the logo seemed a little too “master race.”
As you can see below, the logo depicts the school’s mascot, an eagle, over the initials “ES.” The result is not ideal. It’s downright vermasselt.
\u201cYou have to wonder: Who came up with this logo? By what process was it reviewed? Even if someone didn't know what the eagle itself represented, wouldn't the swastika-looking ES be a tip-off? https://t.co/lZGwllr2T3\u201d— Alan Judd (@Alan Judd) 1658265599
This looks eerily similar to the Nazi eagle — an eagle clutching a swastika with its talons — developed by the Nazi Party in the 1920s. The eagle design in the East Side logo is almost identical, and the “ES” is also too close for comfort to the swastika.
Chest-thumping nationalist images, designed to invoke strength and power, can easily overlap with Nazi iconography, so it’s possible that it’s all an unfortunate coincidence. However, the Nazi eagle isn’t a historical curiosity. Modern neo-nazis and white supremacists worldwide still use the symbol. The similarities were obvious enough that even people without advanced degrees in World War II history raised objections.
East Cobb County is home to a significant Jewish population. East Side Elementary School is literally across the street from Congregation Etz Chaim, a local synagogue. The Congregation’s executive director Marty Gilbert reached out to East Side Elementary for a polite chat of “what the fuck?”
"I just wanted to make [the school] aware the similarity was upsetting and I sent the e-mail off in the late in the afternoon," Gilbert said. "And I received a call this morning from the principal. She did say that they use a war eagle that has been used by the US military as a guide for the logo, but obviously there's a similarity to the Nazi insignia and she did not see it until I sent them juxtaposed to each other and she saw it and she said that she was aware of the problem. She apologized and they are going to change the logo."
The Cobb County School District released this statement Tuesday: “We understand and strongly agree that similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable. Although this design was based on the U.S. Army colonel’s eagle wings, stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our schools.”
This isn’t the district’s only controversial incident related to antisemitism. Last September, students faced disciplinary charges for smearing gross antisemitic graffiti, including swastikas and “Hail (sic) Hitler,” in the bathroom at two Cobb County high schools during the Jewish High Holidays. This February, East Cobb Middle School students reportedly shared “hateful and antisemitic imagery” on social media.
The Cobb County Board of Education had recently discontinued the anti-bullying program “No Place For Hate” as part of the tedious backlash to so-called “critical race theory” in schools. Allison Padilla-Goodman, Southern Division Vice President of the Anti-Defamation League, called out the Republican-majority board for "failing to address or even name antisemitic incidents occurring in their own schools, and refusing to engage with ADL to respond effectively.”
Bigotry and discrimination are weeds that grow out of control if unattended, even for an instant. They can also suffocate the life out of any positive community growth. In a statement about the East Side Elementary logo, Dov Wilker, director of the American Jewish Committee Atlanta region, put it simply: “Pretending that antisemitism doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. The children who attend Cobb County schools — and their families — deserve better.”
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."