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Antisemitic graffiti found in Marblehead elementary school

Authorities in Marblehead are investigating several incidents of antisemitic graffiti at an elementary school.

Marblehead schools Superintendent John Buckey said the vandalism occurred at the Village Elementary School, where a swastika was etched into a stall in two boys’ bathrooms on Jan. 18 and 26, and “profane language targeted at Jewish people” was found in a girls’ bathroom stall on Jan. 27, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Buckey said some transphobic language was also found on Monday, after someone wrote “only 2 genders” in a girls’ restroom at the school.

The school, located at 93 Village St., serves grades 4 through 6 and has an enrollment of 559 students this year.

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Buckey said the school is taking “all issues of hate seriously” and will work with faculty, staff, students, and the community “to bring them to light and address them through education and engagement.”

“To say I am disheartened and angry would be an understatement,” Buckey said in a statement to the community. “We have been working with Marblehead Police since the first incident. Destroying school property by scratching swastikas or any other form of hate will be fully investigated by the Marblehead Police Department and any students who engage in such acts face consequences accordingly. As these acts of hate are a crime, we are supporting their investigations as such.”

Buckey said school officials would be having an “open and honest discussion” with students about what happened, and asked that parents take time to talk to their children about “the implications of events happening in our nation and in our community.”

“The appearance of swastikas and targeting anyone because of their religion are forms of hate that will not be tolerated,” Buckey said in the statement. “Anti-semitism, racism, other ‘isms’ and forms of intolerance that are happening right here in our community are harmful, hurtful, unkind, and entirely unacceptable.

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“As a community, we strive to create a stronger, more inclusive, safe, welcoming environment for all our students. Hateful acts do not just impact some members of our community. They impact all of us.”

Robert Trestan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, said Marblehead isn’t the only community dealing with such incidents. In recent weeks, offensive graffiti has been reported at Curry College in Milton, Newton South High School, and the Brown Middle School in Newton.

“We are seeing all too frequently incidents of antisemitic graffiti, including swastikas, in many schools throughout New England, particularly in this week following International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” Trestan said in a statement.

“Standing by is not an option; communities must challenge these harmful behaviors and address their long-term impact. It’s empowering to see so many community members come together to stand up and demonstrate that Marblehead will not accept this behavior and that school safety and equity must be a community priority.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.