NEEDHAM, Mass. – Another hateful message was found inside a bathroom at a Needham school.
In a letter to parents, Pollard Middle School Principal Tamatha Bibbo said a swastika and racist graffiti were found on the wall of one of the boy’s bathrooms.
“Both symptoms of hate are a clear violation of our core values and how we treat one another in our community. It is a cowardly act, and it is disappointing that I am sharing this news with you,” the letter said. [Read the full letter below]
Similar graffiti had been found in the high school recently, and hundreds of students held a walkout last week to protest the hateful beliefs.
“I have a lot of friends that was affected by this graffiti because there was racist graffiti, homophobic graffiti and sexist graffiti,” sophomore Christina Daly said.
It’s an issue the Anti-Defamation League said is state wide. The regional director issued the following statement:
“The incidents in Needham are part of a significant uptick in anti-Semitic and racist graffiti incidents impacting multiple school districts across the state. The swift and thorough response by Needham officials demonstrates a commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive learning environment for everyone.”
The school’s principal says they are investigating and they will continue the discussion with students on Monday.
Dear Pollard Community,
I am writing to you this afternoon to report some disturbing news. This morning a swastika and racist graffiti were drawn on the wall of one of the boys’ bathrooms. We commend the three young men who found this graffiti and reported it right away to an administrator.
Both symbols of hate are a clear violation of our core values and how we treat one another in our community. It is a cowardly act, and it is disappointing that I am sharing this news with you.
We have started an investigation towards determining who may be responsible for these actions and strongly encourage any student or community member who may have information to let us know.
During this weekend, it is or hope that you will discuss this incident and other incidents of intolerance and hate with your child(ren). As you know, these conversations are necessary and powerful, yet can be difficult. As a result, here are a few sentence starters for you:
- Why do you think these actions occur?
- What do you think we can do to counter cruel or mean-spirited behavior, not just in your school, but also in our community as a whole, etc.?
- What can you do personally if you see or hear comments that make others feel excluded, hurt, or hated?
- Are there ways to protest peacefully these actions towards targeted people in our community?
- Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist and activist, once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Do you think that she is right?
- Do you have an adult with whom you trust to report incidents when you see or hear unacceptable behavior?
As you know, we are completely committed to making Pollard a safe and inclusive school community. I thank you, in advance, for your partnership and support. This work is not easy and never perfect; however, our silence also speaks volumes. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
In Partnership, Tamatha L. Bibbo
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