March 15, 2021
Dear Mt. Lebanon Community,
As you may be aware, a drawing of a swastika was found inside a bathroom stall at Jefferson Middle School both on March 2 and on March 9. We take incidents like these very seriously in the Mt. Lebanon School District. As JMS Principal Dr. Sarah Shaw reported to parents in her email communications, an investigation began immediately, and the Mt. Lebanon Police Department was involved.
We have and will continue to act swiftly to address any issues that violate our policies and practices of nondiscrimination. There is zero-tolerance for discriminatory behavior in our schools, and we will take appropriate disciplinary action for those found responsible for this incident.
However, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to educate our students to understand the full meaning of this hateful symbol and all that it represents. The hurt that it causes our Jewish community is profound and in turn, impacts all in our school community. Dr. Shaw shared in her letter how they are addressing this incident directly with JMS students.
I want to express my deep thanks and gratitude to Rabbi Aaron Meyer from Temple Emanuel of South Hills and Rabbis Alex and Amy Greenbaum from Beth El Congregation of the South Hills for their guidance and educational support they have generously provided Dr. Shaw and the District over the years. Our partnership with them is one we value and cherish.
Through our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and their No Place For Hate initiative, our administrators, faculty, and staff received anti-bias, anti-discrimination training from ADL facilitators. This training led to school-based projects that confront bias and promote inclusion in all of our schools. And our work continues with the efforts of our District Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce, created for the purpose of defining equity, identifying achievement and opportunity gaps.
In the Mt. Lebanon School District, we are all committed to fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding in our schools and work every day to cultivate a place where everyone is treated with kindness, respect, and dignity.
Timothy J. Steinhauer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
In an effort to continue to educate our students, families, and the community about discrimination and bias, here are some valuable resources to use.