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Swastika Graffiti Found on MSMS Bathroom Ceiling

Burlington Public Schools are responding to a disturbing incident of racist graffiti at Marshall Simonds Middle School reported on Tuesday.

A swastika was found painted on a tile in one of the school’s bathrooms on Monday, Nov. 15.

A hate-symbol like the swastika is an affront to those values, district leaders wrote.

“We became aware of an incident on social media on Monday night that violated this statement,” the letter states. “Middle school parents received a letter from Principal Perchase this afternoon regarding anti-Semitic vandalism in the ceiling of a boy’s bathroom. As stated in Ms. Purchase’s letter, we could not find the anti-Semitic vandalism during a search of the building until it was located on the topside of a ceiling tile. In other words, the side that is not visible from the room below.”

In a letter sent out to parents and the community administrators said this act goes against the core values of the district.

“Educational equity means that every child belongs and receives whatever support she/he/they need to develop her/his/their full academic, emotional and social potential to learn and thrive every day,” Superintendent Eric Conti wrote. “This begins with kindness and valuing the humanity of every child/individual.”

Despite the obscure location of the vandalism, Conti said the school department leadership is taking the incident seriously.

“My mentioning the location is not to minimize the vandalism or the anti-Semitism,” he wrote. “I am just explaining that it was not seen by many students, and we have no idea how long it has been present. We are responding, however, in the same manner as if the vandalism were in plain sight. To this end, the middle school will be addressing students on the school’s core values and will be having follow up conversations. Resources have been provided to parents who want to continue to have these conversations at home. As a district, I wanted to reinforce that we will not tolerate any actions that violate our core values. We hope through education and conversation, we can prevent any future incidents.”

Rabbi Susan Abramson responded to a request for comment on the incident as a representative of the Interfaith Coalition, said this incident, no matter how old, cannot be ignored.

“All I can say is this is a horrible thing and every time a swastika appears it is a personal affront to the Jewish community and all people who stand up against hate and all the manifestations it occurs” she said. “It cannot be tolerated by anyone who stands against hate and all it represents.”