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Clarke County School District gives update on Oglethorpe Ave Elementary Nazi slur

The Clarke County School District is providing more information about an incident at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, in which a school administrator invoked Nazi symbolism in reference to a piece of student artwork depicting a rainbow and the words "Gay is okay."

In a letter released to the public on Tuesday, Acting Superintendent Brannon Gaskins provided some additional background on the incident:

"A parent raised a concern regarding a student’s artwork displayed in a classroom. This concern was not based on a lack of support for the subject matter but rather on its potential to become a source of bullying of her child. [Emphasis in original]

"Recognizing the challenges of navigating age-appropriate conversations in an elementary classroom, district administrators advised the school to have the teacher relocate the artwork in the classroom.

"While discussing the situation with the teacher and explaining the rationale for moving the artwork, a school staff member made a reference to Nazi symbolism. [CCSD letter, 2/1/22]"

According to the letter, the district, "provided the staff member with the opportunity to explain the situation and the context and encouraged reflection on their choice of words and the subsequent impact on members of our community."

"We recognize and embrace the diverse identities of our staff and students."

Gaskins' letter also spoke to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, many parts of which were outraged by the incident.

"We absolutely and unequivocally support our LGBTQIA+ community and prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. [CCSD letter, 2/1/22]"

However, the letter does not mention the area's Jewish community, some members of which have also expressed offense over the incident on social media.

No "visible disciplinary action" for assistant principal

While acknowledging that the situation "could have been handled with more care, thought, and attention," Gaskins' letter stops short of discussing any disciplinary action that has been or will be taken, saying only that district administrators, "disagree with the suggestion that the staff member should be subject to a visible disciplinary action."

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
Martin Matheny was promoted to Program Director and Content Strategist on July 1, 2022. He has served as the Executive Producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters', and he covers local government for WUGA News. He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on WUGA at 10pm. 'Night Music' can also be heard statewide on the GPB Classical stream Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm. As part of 'Athens News Matters' Martin works with student interns to help cultivate the next generation of Public Media rock stars! In his spare time Martin is an amateur book binder and freelance musician who frequently performs with Big Band Athens playing bass trombone. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.