Antisemitism incidents have increased in the area recently but Santa Monica has also seen hate incidents this year including the distribution of flyers in January.

Local officials are investigating fliers found at several school sites Thursday that are linking vaccine debates to antisemitism.

The fliers were found at Grant, McKinley, Edison, Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Lincoln and John Adams campuses. They feature a large red “A” and an overlapping green “V” that form a Star of David design. They also contain the words “anti-vaxxer” and a phone number to report individuals who are against vaccines.

The number links to a Kentucky-based organization that identifies itself as “The Safer Tomorrow Organization.”

Texts to the number return with an automated message.

“As you are well aware, anti-vaxxers ❌  ?  are endangering us from getting out of this pandemic. Most importantly, they are endangering future generations – our children. ? We are starting to collect (but not act on) information on anti-vaxxers. That way we can work toward a solution together as a society,” said the response. “Thank you for caring when they don’t!”

The service then offers to take a report and asks for as much information as possible.

“Stay away from personal information. Rather, we would like to hear the story and experience of your interaction with the anti-vaxxer(s),” it says.

In a joint statement, SMMUSD and the City condemned the fliers.

“Santa Monica rejects bigotry of any kind and antisemitic rhetoric, intolerance, harassment, and violence have no place in our schools or in our community,” said the statement. “We are deeply offended by the antisemitic posters, falsely and nefariously representing pro-vaccine propaganda found at several of our schools. They have been removed from all campuses and Santa Monica Police Department is investigating the incident. We collectively want to ensure that all of our students, families, and staff, no matter their race, religion, or other identity feel safe and welcomed in our schools and in our community.”

At Thursday’s SMMUSD Board meeting, Boardmember Jon Kean said the language being used in the community around vaccines was unacceptable. He said the fliers at local schools were part of a trend that included people calling Mayor Himmelrich a Nazi during debate over a local vaccine mandate and individuals using gas chamber descriptions in communication to the Board.

He said as a Jew himself and a scholar of the Holocaust, he was disgusted by the language.

“I am disgusted by the posters that were put in our neighborhood today. I am disgusted by the names being thrown around,” he said. “And I will once again make the same plea I have made for the past two years: The enemy is the virus. The enemy is not one another. Please tone the rhetoric down.”

SMPD said it is investigating.

“Our officers and forensic specialists responded to the campuses and took a report,” said Lt. Rudy Flores. “It appears that these posters /stickers have been posted at various locations within the county since sometime in December. SMPD detectives will follow up with LAPD. They are also working with the district’s video technicians to review footage.”  

Anyone with information related to these incidents are encouraged to contact Detective Haro at 310-458-8432.