‘Troubling’ anti-Semitic and anti-black graffiti found at 3 Newmarket schools

York Regional Police and YRDSB are investigating after graffiti was found in the toilets of 2 secondary schools and on a public school door

Police and public school board investigations are underway following the discovery of anti-Semitic and anti-black graffiti at three schools in Newmarket this week.

“Images of a swastika and the word N were carved into (washing) stalls” at Newmarket High School on Pickering Crescent and Huron Heights High School on Huron Heights Drive, according to the vice principal of York Region District School Board (YRDSB) Education Cecil Roach in a press release issued today by the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC).

“A swastika was drawn on an interior door” at Glen Cedar Public School on Wayne Dr., according to Roach.

York Regional Police and the YRDSB are investigating and school communities have been notified.

On March 4, 2022, officers responded to Newmarket Secondary School to a report of graffiti carved into a toilet cubicle in the boys’ toilets. The sculpture was an anti-black remark.

On Monday March 7, 2022, officers attended Newmarket Secondary School for a report that two carvings on the front of the lockers were in the school. One engraving was anti-Semitic and one was anti-2SLGBTQ+

On Tuesday March 8, 2022, officers were called to Huron Heights Secondary School in Newmarket after graffiti was found in the boys’ washroom. The graffiti included a number of drawings, profanity, and male genitalia, as well as possibly anti-black and anti-Semitic graffiti that was partially scrawled.

There were no witnesses and there are currently no suspects in the incidents, according to Staff Sgt. Andree Vincent. No charges have been laid.

“We were disappointed to find that some of our schools in the Newmarket community over the past week and this week have been the target of anti-Semitic, racist anti-black and homophobic vandalism. As a school board, we take these incidents seriously. Upon learning of the incident, the schools immediately contacted York Regional Police and, once cleared, removed the offensive material so that no one else was subjected to it, said Miguelo Licinio, senior director of communications for YRDSB company in an email.

“Our Inclusive School and Community Services have also been engaged and will take additional action in the community. Our Inclusive Schools team has also briefed agencies and leaders who support LGBTQ+, Jewish and Black communities in an effort to be transparent and to provide holistic support to students. While these incidents are deeply upsetting, they occur at a school board that has made an explicit commitment to equity and inclusiveness.”

The incidents follow a spate of hateful graffiti found recently at three Toronto-area high schools and a Markham synagogue and park, the FSWC said.

The FSWC has offered educational programs at the school, but it is unclear whether the YRDSB will accept the organization’s offer or whether a plan is in place to educate its students, the center said.

“We are saddened to once again hear hate graffiti found in schools, this time in Newmarket,” said Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO. “These growing incidences of hate are creating a toxic environment for all students and staff and must be addressed with the highest priority by education officials.

“In addition to identifying and holding accountable those who committed these heinous acts, we expect the YRDSB and schools to commit to providing additional education on anti-Semitism and racism to those involved in the incidents. and to all students.

Rabbi Mendy Grossbaum of Chabad Newmarket called the incident “deeply hurtful to hear” and “deeply disturbing” to know that this type of hate exists in the neighborhood and children are being exposed to hate symbols.

“Whenever the dark forces of hate come our way, the light always prevails,” he told NewmarketToday.

NewmarketToday did not receive a response from the YRDSB by the publication deadline.

Editor’s note March 10, 2022: The story has been updated to include additional information.

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