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Former Utah Lawmaker: Anti-Semitic Symbols Show Need For Education

HOLLADAY, Utah – Two swastikas spotted over the weekend are putting a spotlight on a recent bill signed into law last week, emphasizing the importance of educating Utah students about the Holocaust and genocide.

“This is something that needs to be taught,” said former Utah legislator Patrice Arent, who is also Jewish. “I don’t know if these students understood how hateful this is. And they need to understand the history and what happened. So many people don’t understand how many people died.”

Arent said two swastikas found over the weekend are just two examples of the need for SCR1, Concurrent Resolution on Holocaust Education, which passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed by Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday.

On Saturday, two pictures in her Nextdoor App feed grabbed Arent’s attention. One showed what looked like a swastika drawn into the snow on the ground with someone’s hand. The other appeared to be a misspelled Nazi salute to Hitler.

Arent, who lives in Holladay, talked to the neighbor who posted the pictures. She told Arent she saw a group of what looked like teenagers leaving the area in a white vehicle. She wanted to let her neighbors know in case their children were involved.

Arent said curriculum for educating students about the Holocaust already exists in the state, but she said it needs to be taught more frequently and effectively and in more schools to combat anti-Semitic language and behavior.

“Sometimes people think in Utah these things don’t happen. But they do. Sometimes it’s out of ignorance. Sometimes it’s an intentional hate crime,” she said. “But teaching this, helping people understand the significance of what happened in the Holocaust is so important.”

When KSL reached out to the Unified Police Department, they said no report had been filed. They drove past the area and said the evidence has melted.

Moments before speaking with KSL, Arent got a message about another swastika that had been spotted in an obscure location on an old building in Dimple Dell Park in Sandy. Officials with the Sandy Police Department confirmed someone had reported it.

After visiting the area, officers said the graffiti was not put there over the weekend but had likely been there for some time.

“If you’re Jewish and you see this and it’s near your home or on your school, you feel different about it than someone who just sees it,” Arent said. “It puts a fear in you and a fear in your community when you start to see these incidents again and when they’re accepted.”

According to its description online, SCR1 “highlights the importance of Holocaust and genocide education and encourages the State Board of Education and local education agencies to emphasize the importance of this course of study.”

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