Hanover County Schools’ superintendent Dr Michael Gill posted a statement on the official website that said: “We are deeply sorry for this mistake and for the emotions that the logo has evoked by its semblance to a swastika and, by extension, to the atrocities that were committed under its banner. Unquestionably, we condemn anything associated with the Nazi regime in the strongest manner possible.”
The logo on the T-shirts was designed by a Hanover teacher.
“One of our teachers designed the logo intending for it to represent four hands and arms grasping together – a symbol of unity for our all-county professional learning conference. Nothing more,” the statement read.
“While we are confident that the logo was created without any ill-intent, we understand that this has deeply upset members of our staff and community who see the logo as resembling a swastika. We have stopped distributing the t-shirts that include the logo, and we are working to remove it from all conference materials.”
Mr Gill continued: “As a school division, we are committed to inclusion and ensuring that all students, faculty, staff, and community members feel welcome, safe, and secure in our schools… We truly regret this error and are sorry that it has distracted from the great work that is being accomplished through this conference and throughout the school division, which will help us to continue to uphold our longstanding Tradition of Excellence by supporting all students and their unique needs.”
The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond issued a statement that said: “We appreciate this swift response from Superintendent Michael Gill.”