A Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee member reportedly used TikTok to compare vaccine certificates to Nazis tattooing Jewish victims during the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, Lynnfield police are investigating antisemitic graffiti discovered in a town park.
According to a report in the Taunton Daily Gazette and The Sun Chronicle, Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee member Katie Ferreira-Aubin of Rehoboth, who was elected in the spring, posted a TikTok video making the comparison between vaccine certificates and the numbers tattooed on the arms of those who were confined in Nazi extermination camps.
The Daily Gazette reported that in the clip, which has since been deleted, Ferreira-Aubin points to a headline that reads: “COVID Certificate of Vaccine Identification” and then points to a photo of a Holocaust survivor with a tattooed arm. A message flashes: “Same thing, differnt [sic] strategy!”
Ferreira-Aubin, who reports say also opposes mask and vaccine mandates, was interviewed by WJAR’s Katie Davis about how this and her other social media posts could be viewed as offensive.
“Well, my TikTok, it’s out there, you know, it’s being seen,” she told Davis. “But, that’s my private social page, people look at it, they look at it.”
When asked if she could see how comparing vaccine certificates to the Holocaust could be offensive to Jews, she did not back down.
“When you explain things in that extreme, it does get people’s attention to kind of say, OK, maybe our freedoms are being taken away right now. So, sometimes you do have to use extremes to get attention. But I stand by it,” Ferreira-Aubin said in the TV interview.
The Anti-Defamation League of New England denounced her post in a tweet: “Comparing public safety measures such as vaccine passports to the #Holocaust is disrespectful, ignorant and trivializes the memories of the 6 million. Apologize and remove these posts Katie Ferreira-Aubin. Dighton-Rehoboth deserves better.”
Ferreira-Aubin works as a licensed mental health counselor. A message was left at her work seeking additional comment on July 29. She did not respond to a Facebook message seeking further comment.
“Recent social media posts by Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee member Katie Ferreira-Auburn give pause to be reflective and create a teachable moment for all,” said a statement from Anthony Azar, superintendent of the school district southwest of Taunton.
“It must be made clear,” the statement read, “that the comments within the social media posts do not reflect the values and beliefs of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District.”
About 315 people have signed a Change.org petition posted by Rehoboth parent Brooke Reeves calling on Ferreira-Aubin to resign, saying she broke the School Committee’s Code of Ethics.
“As a parent of a child in this school district,” Reeves said, “and also a person of Jewish heritage, I find her statements horrifying. In addition, these are not the only actions she has taken on her TikTok that are of concern.”
In Lynnfield, police are investigating antisemitic graffiti that was discovered in the playground at Glen Meadow Park on July 21, according to a statement from town officials.
The graffiti included a swastika, the name “Hitler,” and an obscene image, the statement said.
“Police were immediately notified of the incident and documented the scene. After the scene was documented by police, the Department of Public Works painted over the offensive images,” the statement said, urging those with information to call Lynnfield police at 781-334-3131.
In response to the incident, ADL New England tweeted: “Antisemitic graffiti was found in #Lynnfield last week. TY to the Lynnfield residents who reported this incident to ADL & are standing up against antisemitism. We will continue to actively work with local officials to ensure MA remains #NoPlaceForHate.”
There have been no arrests in connection with the incident, Town Administrator Rob Dolan said in an interview.
Dolan said all signs point to a young person as being responsible, which is just as troubling and not to be dismissed.
The town is working with a group called Lynnfield for Love about what can be done to address the incident and head off others like it.
“As Jews, we have to stand up loud and proud every time there’s an act of hate anywhere in the world, and particularly in our own backyard!” said Chabad of Peabody Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman in a Facebook post. “After the recent attack on a fellow Chabad Rabbi [in] Boston, we cannot take these things lightly.”