Anti-Semitic graffiti was found at Simsbury High School and school administrators said they have identified a student who is responsible for it.
A statement from the superintendent says there have been a few incidents involving hate speech, “specifically anti-semitic graffiti,” in recent weeks, and the office has been working with high school Principal Andrew O’Brien and Simsbury Police to investigate.
“Obviously, I am deeply troubled by what has happened at Simsbury High, but I also have great confidence in the ability of the administration, the faculty, and the students to move past these incidents and to build an even stronger school culture,” a statement from Supt. Matthew Curtis said.
According to a statement from school officials, the most recent incident happened when a class was playing a game of Kahoot and someone's log-in screen name included a statement against the Jewish people.
On Wednesday afternoon, school administrators and Simsbury Police Department identified a student they said is responsible for the graffiti and are responding with serious discipline and “mental health supports.”
“I'm speaking to you directly this morning because I want everyone to know that hateful racist comments and acts such as this have no place in our school,” O’Brien said in a statement to the school community. “Racism exists only to divide and destroy communities. No one in our community should be made to feel that they are any less worthy or important based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or their mental or physical abilities.”
He is also calling upon students to learn from what has happened and urges them to speak with their friends about why racist comments and jokes are unacceptable and why they should get to know people from different groups.
“You will also find that people are very much like you with dreams, challenges, hopes and aspirations, as well as a desire for friendship and the need to be accepted,” he wrote.
O’Brien went on to write that he will be working with students and staff members to increase awareness and understanding of the value of diversity within the school community.
Prior to the recent events, school officials had already entered into a contract with the Anti-Defamation League to provide the interactive program, “The Truth About Hate,” and will offer it to freshmen next week.
“In my first months as Principal, I have already experienced firsthand the welcoming and supportive culture that characterizes Simsbury High School. The misguided actions of a few individuals will not change that fact. Everyone in our school community needs to feel the same level of respect and belonging; we will not tolerate the actions or words of those who seek to divide us,” O’Brien wrote.