A woman has appeared in court after she put a flag containing racist propaganda outside a Sunderland school.
Heidi Sawicki, 25, draped a Union Jack, containing a swastika, along with the words “white power” and “Muslims out” on railings at Thornhill School last October.
She then posed for a photo next to the sign as she gave a Nazi salute and shared it on Facebook, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “Mark Leadbeater is a head of house at Thornhill School. He was heading into school at 7.05am on Thursday, October 8.
“He would describe the school as a mixed-race school and has a 30% Muslim-Bangladeshi cohort.”
The court heard Mr Leadbeater removed the flag to examine it.
This could have broken down the relationship between pupils and the community and could have escalated to riots. I can’t get my head around what the consequences could have beenMark Leadbetter, teacher, Thornhill School
“He could clearly see the red, white and blue of the Union Jack,” Mr Poppett said.
“It had been placed about a metre away from the pupils’ entrance to the school.
“He picked up the flag and noticed that it had a swastika.
“He was highly offended by this and immediately took the flag into the school, concerned that neighbours and passers-by had seen it.
Mr Poppett said Mr Leadbeater was then shocked to find that, as well as the swastika, the flag featured the words “white power” and “Muslims out”, written in what appeared to be nail varnish.
Sawicki was identified from CCTV footage and arrested, along with a male who is being dealt with separately.
When she was interviewed by police and shown the flag, she refused to answer questions about who it belonged to, the court heard, but she added: “It looks like a canny flag,”
She was asked whether it was racist and said: “It depends who you ask.”
When officers asked if she knew the meaning of the swastika, she replied: “Sieg Heil. White power.”
She then said: “I know the school is riddled with them, the rodents. They have a rat problem. They are barbaric animals. They don’t deserve the name person.”
Mr Poppett said incriminating pictures were found on Sawicki’s phone. A photograph shown in court depicted her posing next to the flag outside the school, with her right hand in a Nazi salute.
Sawicki, of Buddle Terrace, Hendon, admitted causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, and sending a malicious communication.
Jason Smith, defending, said Sawicki suffers from mental health problems and has been sectioned in the past. He added: “She has a deep-seated hate and a deep seated-offence to that particular racial sector.”
Sawicki was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement. She was also fined £20 and was told to pay £85 costs and £60 surcharge.