14 Students Accused of Vandalism, Spray-Painting Swastika, Anti-Gay Slurs on High School - NECN
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14 Students Accused of Vandalism, Spray-Painting Swastika, Anti-Gay Slurs on High School

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    14 Students Suspected in School Vandalism

    Officers responded to Arlington High School on Massachusetts Avenue last Wednesday, police and the town's superintendent announced Tuesday. Responders found damaged property inside the building, as well as a swastika and anti-gay slurs outside.

    (Published Tuesday, May 8, 2018)

    Fourteen students at a Massachusetts high school are facing disciplinary action by the school district as police continue to investigate a break-in that resulted in vandalism at the school last week.

    Officers responded to Arlington High School on Massachusetts Avenue last Wednesday, police and the town's superintendent announced Tuesday. Responders found damaged property inside the building, as well as a swastika and anti-gay slurs outside.

    It appeared a group of people had entered the building, using and damaging several fire extinguishers, while damaging vending machines, display cases and an emergency defibrillator inside the facility. The suspects, later identified as all male students, also used spray paint inside and outside of the school, police said.

    The names of the students involved in the incident were not immediately released.

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    School officials said they will be disciplined in accordance to the school district's code of conduct, and police are still investigating it.

    The Arlington Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Defamation League and Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission are also being consulted in the incident, according to authorities.

    It was hateful and disgusting, according to junior Nick Lamonica. 

    "Scattered things all over, mustard sprayed around, apparently someone put some poop on the wall," another student said.

    "I was really kind of disgusted by it and a lot of my peers were, as well," Lamonica said.

    Arlington Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said in a statement, "These actions represent a terrible breach of the peace and harmony we seek to instill as a welcoming, tolerant, and safe community. Whether these students intended to or not, their words and actions are hateful and hurtful, and we must respond accordingly."

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    Some students initially thought it was a senior prank. They were disappointed when they realized it wasn't.

    "I didn't think this was OK at all, especially when I learned about the messages and like the swastika on the side of the school," Kate Demaree said.

    "Some of them were leaders in the community and really I'm pretty mad at them for letting us down," said Lamonica.

    Since the hateful incident, many students have posted messages of love and support in chalk for all students.

    It's not immediately clear if the students will face criminal charges, as well.

    Police say this is an active investigation.

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