Parents compare new Cobb elementary school logo to Nazi symbol

east side elementary school proposed logo
east side elementary school proposed logo(Savannah Louie)
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 4:28 PM CDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Families in Cobb County shared shock and disbelief over a new school logo they believe closely resembles Nazi paraphernalia.

In an email to parents Monday, East Side Elementary unveiled the logo’s design of an Eagle with the letters “ES” underneath.

Amanda Flaks, a Jewish mother with a child at the school, said the emblem closely resembles a Nazi War Eagle.

“I’ve had a few people say, “Oh that can’t be real, you must be joking,’” said Flaks. “People in the Jewish community are really upset.”

The Nazi War Eagle was developed by the Nazi Party in the 1920s. The eagle sits atop a swastika and has been a symbol for neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

A spokesperson with the Cobb County School District said the design was based on the U.S. Army Colonel’s eagle wings.

“To me, it’s very strange,” said Flaks. “Why are we making a logo for an elementary school on military symbols?”

Flaks said her frustration grew worse after the principal sent a follow-up message hours later explaining the logo was “paused” – but not necessarily pulled.

The notice sent to East Side Elementary families reads:

“We recently introduced a new set of logos for the school. The school is aware of concerns about these logos, and therefore we have paused to consider that feedback. We will be immediately reviewing the logos to determine needed changes. Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our school, and we appreciate those who took the time to share their thoughts.”

“To me, there’s a force on the other side that says this is OK and we’re just giving you a pause to let you guys run out of gas – to run out of breath for us to keep it in place,” said Flaks.

A district spokesperson told CBS46 that the logo’s roll-out had been stopped and is under review.

“We understand and strongly agree that similarities to Nazi symbolism are unacceptable,” said the spokesperson. “Stakeholder input has been and continues to be important to our schools. We appreciate those who took time to share their thoughts and we will make sure all input is reviewed as changes are considered.”

Families wonder how this was approved in one of the country’s largest school districts amid heightened concerns over antisemitic incidents which jumped 133 percent in Georgia last year, including swastika and “Heil Hitler” vandalism and Nazi salutes in Cobb County schools.

Flaks called on the school board to do more.

“Cobb County School District has a big problem with issues like this,” said Flaks. “We have to pay attention and some big changes need to be made on the school board.”

Across the street from the school inundated with criticism, leaders of a synagogue received a different type of call from concerned parents.

Marty Gilbert, executive director at Congregation Etz Chaim, said a number of East Side Elementary families also worship at the synagogue.

“We all have to do more. Hatred is not going away,” said Gilbert. “We need to be vigilant and deal with it when it comes up.”

Gilbert said he spoke to the school principal on the phone and is awaiting a new logo design.

“She took my concerns to heart and took them seriously, and was going to address them,” he said.

However, many in the community are still waiting for an appropriate apology.

“The correct response should be, ‘This was an error, we’re so sorry, we’re going do something different. And we haven’t heard that,” said Flaks, who corresponded with the principal in a direct email Tuesday. “She apologized I was affected in that way, which seems like a non-apology.”

An assessment by the Anti-Defamation League found the design is not a Nazi symbol; however, the organization issued words of caution.

“It is essential to listen to the concerns of community members, especially considering the vast increase in reported hate crimes and antisemitic incidents in the state and region,” said Eytan Davidson, ADL Southeast Regional Director.