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Swastika, threatening language found drawn on desk at Newton middle school

A student found a swastika and “threatening language” drawn on a desk at a middle school in Newton Monday morning, school officials said.

The swastika appeared on the desk at the F.A. Day Middle School in Newton over the weekend, said Newton Public Schools spokeswoman Julie McDonough.

In a letter to parents Tuesday afternoon, school principal Jackie Mann said the graffiti was drawn in pencil and also included “threatening language.” A student found it Monday morning and reported it to their teacher, she said.

“We reject racism, anti-Semitism, gender intolerance or any other form of discrimination,” Mann said. “Here at Day we will continue to build an inclusive and caring community in which all students and adults feel safe and respected. Accepting our differences and celebrating our diversity is a critical piece of this work.”

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School administrators and police were informed of the incident immediately and are investigating, following school protocols, Mann said. The families of the students who were in the class where it was found were called and told what happened, she said.

“We take matters like these very seriously and will follow the investigation to its conclusion,” McDonough said in an e-mail.

The investigation “complicated” by the fact that the building is used by the public during weekends, McDonough said.

The school has faced criticism in the past when a former principal failed to report two incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti when they happened, the Globe reported in March 2016.

“We are all outraged when symbols of hate appear anywhere in our community,” Mann said. “They are counter to our core values and will not be tolerated. Acts such as these do not reflect the work we have dedicated ourselves to here at Day, including our anti-bias lessons and Anti-Defamation League Peer Mentoring Program.”

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Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @breannekovatch.