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'Swastika' Found in the Snow in West Hartford, Replaced with Heart and Peace Sign

West Hartford resident Matt Hay found a swastika in the snow at Kingswood Oxford School. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay
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Police are investigating a swastika symbol found in the snow Friday night on a field at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford.

West Hartford resident Matt Hay found a swastika in the snow at Kingswood Oxford School. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

West Hartford resident Matt Hay found a swastika in the snow at Kingswood Oxford School. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

By Ronni Newton

A neighbor taking a walk on the grounds of Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford at around 8:30 p.m. Friday night came across a disturbing symbol on the snow-covered football field: a swastika.

Matt Hay created a heart in the snow at Kingswood Oxford. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

Matt Hay created a heart in the snow at Kingswood Oxford. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

Matt Hay, who discovered the offensive image – a symbol synonymous with the German Nazi party – posted a photo of it on social media. He also brushed it away quickly and left his own marks in the snow: a heart and a peace sign.

Even though the symbol was quickly removed and not permanent, it was reported to West Hartford Police, the Kingswood Oxford administration, and the Anti-Defamation League.

West Hartford Police Patrol Sgt. Steven Hinckley said Saturday that the symbol was “shuffled into the snow by someone walking.”

No suspects have been identified, he said, but police are continuing to investigate.

At the time the swastika was discovered, a choral expo was underway in a packed Roberts Theater on the Kingswood Oxford Campus. The concert, which featured nine choral groups, topped off what Head of School Dennis Bisgaard called “an incredible day” that began with a powerful assembly featuring “Shatterproof” Founder and President Gary Mendell speaking about his son’s addiction and ultimate suicide.

Along with a heart, Matt Hay also Matt Hay created a peace sign in the snow at Kingswood Oxford. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

Along with a heart, Matt Hay also Matt Hay created a peace sign in the snow at Kingswood Oxford. Photo courtesy of Matt Hay

In an email sent to faculty and staff very late Friday night, Bisgaard spoke of the incident.

“The day was amazing and kids were beyond engaged and riveted because of the assembly. Tonight we had the most spectacular all school choral concert with 9 choral groups performing one beautiful piece after the next. Simply incredible and a packed Roberts Theater. Before the concert, KO boys hockey team had a valiant effort against Rye Country Day in a close loss 5-6. Everyone tonight went home happy, accomplished and feeling good – but unfortunately sometimes things don’t simply end on a happy note … unfortunately the ugly face of bigotry, hate and stupidity sometimes lingers right around the corner,” wrote Bisgaard.

Bisgaard said that he contacted Hay on Saturday morning and thanked him for having the instinct to take a photo, as well as for wiping away the swastika and replacing it with his own positive symbols.

“A peace sign and heart in the snow made for a positive ending to an overall positive day with so much good going on at KO,” Bisgaard said.

“The Shatterproof assembly was incredible and the Choral Expo with a theater filled till capacity was so upbeat and positive. It was such a dichotomy that this random act of hate had to take place on an otherwise incredibly positive day,” said Bisgaard.

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