The principal at Sir Robert Borden High School says an anonymous social media account spreading rumours, gossip and hate about students at the west-end school has been reported to the Ottawa police and the hate crimes unit is investigating.
In an email to parents on Jan. 13, principal Matt Gagnier said the social media account was created four days earlier and already had hundreds of posts.
“These appalling comments are racist, antisemitic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, vulgar, and sexist,” said the email from Gagnier. “It is intolerable that we continue to see a proliferation of social media accounts which are used for targeted attacks and spreading hate.
“We filed a report with the Ottawa Police Service, who have referred the matter to the Hate Crimes Unit,” said the email.
“We have contacted the social media platform to take down the account and are working to learn more about the source of this account,” Gagnier wrote.
It’s the third hate-related incident at the school since December that has prompted authorities to call police.
On Dec. 21, a student reported finding graffiti in an intermediate bathroom that include a Nazi symbol and antisemitic message, according to an earlier email Gagnier sent to parents.
The bathroom was closed and the graffiti removed, Gagnier wrote. The school called police, who began an investigation the next day.
Another incident on Dec. 1 resulted in two students from Sir Robert Borden criminally charged with hate-related offences. That was in relation to two Jewish students allegedly being shown a swastika and subjected to a Nazi salute.
In the latest email to parents about the hateful social media account, Gagnier’s email said school administrators spoke to all students at Sir Robert Borden and encouraged anyone with information to contact his office.
Similar social media accounts have existed in the past that have been shut down, said Gagnier’s email.
“These kinds of accounts and posts take away from our vibrant, diverse and caring school community, and do not represent who we are as a school community.”
He did not give details about the nature of the hateful messages or identify the social media account.