Swastika found on playground; a symbol of hate or part of Diwali holiday

Posted at 6:36 PM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 18:36:39-04

Students at Bentley Elementary School in Canton found a swastika symbol made of wood chips on the playground. When school workers saw it, they were concerned. 

The school sent out a robocall notifying parents, letting them know police were investigating, and asking them to share any information they had. 

But now parents are wondering, was it an act of hate or has there been a misunderstanding?

“I am hoping it isn’t a hate message,” said Megan Smith, a mom. 

“I am hoping it is a gap in understanding,” said Luke Misquiwta. 

Misquiwta is a Catholic and says when he sees a swastika he first thinks of the hateful acts of Nazi Germany, but he is also Indian. He knows many people who practice the Hindu religion and celebrate the Five Day Festival of Lights Diwali Holiday, which marks the Hindu New Year. 

The swastika is a religious symbol that represents many things to Hindus, including good luck. As a result it is often displayed as they celebrate the new year. 

The five-day Diwali Holiday started on Tuesday, which is the day the symbol appeared on the playground.

“If it is a gap in understanding. I am hoping those gaps get bridged through education and knowing and learning. We’ve got the internet, so we can quickly Google and close those gaps,” said Misquiwta. 

The school district did not say whether it knows who is responsible for the symbol. It released a statement saying:

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools administration is continuing its investigation into the incident reported to have occurred on the playground at Bentley Elementary School Tuesday afternoon. As this is an issue that involves students, we are unable to discuss further details of this matter.