Scotch Plains police are investigating the culprits responsible for a number of drawn and etched swastikas that were discovered in one of the restrooms and on one of the hallway lockers in Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains on Wednesday afternoon.
“We condemn this symbol, which represents hate and prejudice, and violates our community values,” wrote Scotch Plains-Fanwood SPFK12 superintendent Dr. Joan Mast in a letter sent to parents. “Such a hateful act in a space that is meant to be welcoming and in a place where all students, staff, and families should be able to be their full and authentic selves, is unacceptable and deeply upsetting. Please know that we take acts of hate and intolerance very seriously, and we will continue to do so. Acts such as these will have serious implications and will be met with serious consequences.”
“We encourage you to speak with your children about these kinds of matters and the related stories that they may hear in the news,” Dr. Mast added. “The district will continue to work with the Ministerium and community leaders to create peace and an environment where ‘all to here belong,’ in our schools and across the community.”
Elected officials also spoke out against hate speech.
“These are difficult times, when cases of hate continue to rise at an alarming rate. We must remain ever-vigilant, proclaiming in a unified voice that any offensive/hateful vandalism of any type is completely unacceptable in Scotch Plains,” said Scotch Plains Mayor Losardo.
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr also commended Dr. Mast for quickly responding to the incident.
“I applaud Dr. Mast for sharing the information, educating our young people about antisemitism, and for continuing to have zero tolerance for hate speech,” said Mayor Mahr.
The Scotch Plains police department is conducting an investigation to find those responsible. Anyone with information is urged to contact Sgt. Jason Everitt at 908-322-7100 ext. 113. Residents with information may also submit their information through this anonymous form or reach out directly to SPF administrators or counseling staff.