Racist, homophobic, and antisemitic graffiti was discovered Monday in a girls’ bathroom at Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers, marking the third such incident at the school this academic year, school officials said.
Police and school authorities are investigating the vandalism, which comes after a swastika was found in a Danvers High School bathroom in December and homophobic graffiti was discovered at a softball field on Pickering Street that same month.
“The Danvers Public Schools condemns this type of behavior and will continue to educate our students on hate speech/symbols,” acting co-superintendents Keith Taverna and Mary Wermers wrote in a letter to the community Monday. “The district is committed to building an inclusive community where everyone belongs.”
Danvers has been under scrutiny by state officials and human rights leaders since the Boston Globe reported in November that the town’s police and school officials had concealed for more than 16 months allegations of violent, racist, homophobic, and antisemitic misconduct by members of the 2019-20 boys’ varsity hockey team at Danvers High School.
Longtime Danvers school superintendent Lisa Dana stepped aside in late December on a medical leave of absence amid calls for her to resign over her handling of the allegations.
As the incidents of hateful graffiti mounted, Danvers officials announced in December they would stop informing the public about such episodes out of concern for the perception of the community. Town leaders reversed the decision several days later after pushback from the community and human rights organizations.
Under the revised policy, Danvers officials said they would begin in January to catalogue hateful incidents in a database on the town website. Town Manager Steve Bartha said Monday that he and Police Chief James Lovell briefed leaders of the town’s Human Rights and Inclusion Committee about the plan in late January.
``They offered some good feedback which is currently being incorporated” in the plan, Bartha said. He said the database “should be online within the next few weeks.”
Bob Hohler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.