FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, Nov. 5 , 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Officials Investigating after Swastikas Found at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School
MELROSE — Chief Michael L. Lyle and Superintendent of Schools Cyndy S. Taymore report that Melrose Police and school officials are investigating after swastikas were found at the Veterans Memorial Middle School.
Officials are investigating two incidents of the hateful symbols in different bathrooms at the school.
Late Friday, Nov. 2, the Assistant Principal Michael L. McLaughlin reported finding swastika graffiti in the fourth floor boy’s bathroom sometime after dismissal. Then, at the start of school Monday, a second swastika was located on the back of the door to the second floor boy’s bathroom.
The Melrose Police Department was notified in both instances, and police are working with school administrators to review surveillance footage of the hallways.
Because of the timing — end of day Friday and start of the day Monday — it is unknown how many students or if any other students saw the graffiti. Superintendent Taymore strongly encourages families to discuss this issue with their children and to discuss the meaning of hateful words and symbols.
The Melrose Police Department photographed both scenes, and a Public Works crew removed the hateful graffiti from the bathrooms before they were re-opened to students.
“Erasing the graffiti does not erase the hate expressed and hurt caused to others,” Superintendent Taymore said. “This will not be tolerated in our community, and we are committed to a full and thorough investigation. Actions have consequences, and no member of our community should live in fear.”
Chief Lyle and Superintendent Taymore are deeply troubled by these acts of hate speech, and they have been moved by the recent tragic events in Pittsburgh. Chief Lyle last week attended a vigil with religious and civic leaders at Temple Beth Shalom.
“I am very troubled by the escalating pattern of Anti-Semitic messages and actions in our country right now, and there is no room for pleading ignorance,” Chief Lyle said. “Hateful symbols and words convey a universal message that certain groups of people should be afraid, and while that is not what Melrose is all about, we need to confront the reality in our community so that we can show our collective strength and solidarity.”
All Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School students will be participating in a learning activity and restorative circle about discrimination and harassment including a discussion of hateful language and symbols and of bias and discrimination. These activities are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13.
The incidents remain under investigation.