N.J. school criticized for counseling kid who drew swastika
OLD BRIDGE, N.J. — A group that promotes the swastika criticized a New Jersey school district for requiring counseling for an 8-year-old student of Hindu heritage who included the symbol in a holiday drawing.
The International Raelian Movement, which believes humans were created by extraterrestrials, said the swastika is actually a symbol of peace and beauty that was corrupted by Nazis. The group said the unidentified child was “subjected to traumatic reprimand and racial bias counseling without parental approval.”
School officials have since apologized to the third-grader at James McDivitt Elementary School and his parents.
School officials told the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick the student received counseling to assure him he had done nothing wrong and to let him know that different cultures perceive the swastika differently.
The group said the swastika is a symbol of goodwill to Hindus worldwide.
“It’s not the child who needs counseling but the teacher aide who complained about the child’s drawing, the counselor and the principal who approved the counseling,” Raelian guide Thomas Kaenzig wrote on the group’s website.
Old Bridge Interim Superintendent of Schools Timothy Brennan told the newspaper he could not comment on the specifics of the incident other than to say the family had received the apology.
“The great challenge of our country, as well as it’s great tradition and great promise, is that we welcome everyone,” Brennan said. “Everyone here can be an American and can live in America, but that does not mean that we are not going to encounter from time to time things that we don’t understand or things we have never seen before.”