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Racist graffiti, threat to principal found in Quincy High School restroom

Quincy High School students walked out of class on Nov. 12, 2021, protesting the administration's response to a racist video created by a student, which triggered a fight with another student.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Racist graffiti was found Thursday in a restroom at Quincy High School, including a threat targeting the school’s principal as Quincy education officials continue to grapple with ongoing issues of racism in the district, according to officials.

Principal Keith S. Ford, who is Black, said in a letter sent to parents Thursday afternoon that the “graffiti was threatening to me personally, as well as other members of the school community.”

“The graffiti has been removed and an investigation is underway so that those identified as involved in this misconduct will be held accountable,” Ford said.

Quincy police declined to comment on the graffiti Thursday evening. Quincy schools Superintendent Kevin W. Mulvey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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A photo of a portion of the graffiti that was obtained by the Globe shows a message scrawled in pencil: “We want a white principal.”

Below those words is a stick figure with a line emerging from the head, evoking the children’s guessing game “Hangman,” and alongside the figure is written “Mr. Ford,” with an arrow pointing toward the head.

The incident comes more than a year after hundreds of Quincy High students walked out of classes in protest after many of them received a widely shared 25-second cellphone video in which a white student used the n-word repeatedly and gleefully evoked the horrors of chattel slavery while expressing hatred for Black people, the Globe previously reported.

The video led to a fight at school when a Black student confronted and punched its creator, and that altercation was also recorded on video and circulated by students, the Globe reported.

Ford, who was principal of North Quincy High School for the 2021-2022 academic year, was installed at Quincy High following the video controversy.

He was hired to lead North Quincy High after more than 200 of its students and alumni signed a letter in 2020 demanding an end to racial bias at the school, according to media reports and a video interview with Ford posted online by Quincy Access Television.

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On Thursday, Ford stressed in his letter to parents “that this vandalism and hateful behavior will not be tolerated.”

“Students and staff have the right to be in a school environment that feels safe and affirming,” he said. “I ask that you please talk to your student about hate speech and the harm that it causes to our community.”

“It is imperative that moving forward, we use this incident as an opportunity to reinforce that as a school community, we stand for respect and inclusion,” Ford said in the letter. “We will continue to emphasize these values at every opportunity inside and outside the classroom.”


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him @jeremycfox.