A Nazi flag was found flying at a Battle Creek elementary school early Saturday morning.
A construction crew doing work on Riverside Elementary School discovered the flag at 7 a.m. and alerted Lakeview School District employees, according to the BattleCreek Enquirer. The employees then contacted the Battle Creek Police Department.
“The flag represents beliefs that in no way reflect our values as a district,” Lakeview Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt said in a statement. “It is disturbing that an individual would use school grounds as a platform to promote such ideals.”
Police say that because the flag was not targeted at a specific group or individual, it cannot be considered a hate crime. It is, however, considered malicious damage of property or vandalism because a lock on the flag was broken and an American flag removed.
The lock on the flagpole has since been replaced, according to a district spokesperson. The school has no footage of the crime because the security cameras currently being installed in the school are not yet working.
The construction crew worked until 8 p.m. on Friday night, meaning the flag was raised sometime between then and 7 a.m. the next morning. The school is surrounded by Riverside Park, which is accessible to the public and open until desk.
“We’re aware of it,” said Sgt. Chris Rabbitt of the Battle Creek Police Department. “We’ve been communicating with Lakeview School administration, keeping an eye on that or anything suspicious. It’s more shock value than anything. Not something we want to see in our community. It’s distasteful to say the least.”
Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said proving who put up the flag will be difficult, but that the entire department is committed to the task.
“It’s enough to deserve our attention and to send a message that it’s not appreciated and we’ll actively go after you,” Blocker told CNN.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Michigan Star.
Photo “Riverside Elementary School” by Riverside Elementary School.