DECEMBER 13, 2018, NEEDHAM – For the third time in seven months, a swastika has been found at a Needham school. Needham school officials said the swastika – carved in a bathroom at the high school, along with racist and homophobic graffiti – was discovered on Tuesday morning at Needham High School.
In an email to students, faculty and parents, Needham High School Principal Aaron Sicotte wrote that the graffiti “consisted of a homophobic statement, a swastika, and the N word all in close proximity.”
“It appears to have been carved by the same person,” Sicotte wrote in the email. “We are investigating the incident fully and are working closely with the Needham Police, and we will pursue all available options for appropriate discipline.”
In a message on Twitter, the Needham Police Department confirmed that it is investigating the incident. “The Needham Police Department is currently investigating the incident, and is working closely with school officials to address the incident,” police wrote.
Last month, students found racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in a classroom at the Pollard Middle School. And in May, school officials discovered a painted swastika on the ground near the entrance to the high school. Following the discovery, the community held a vigil against hate speech outside of Needham Town Hall. Also, last December, Needham High School students held a walkout to protest two previous incidents of racist graffiti at the school.
In his letter, Sicotte urged the public to come forward with any information related to the hate graffiti.
“Coming forward to report offensiveness like this is a great example of actively stepping forward,” Sicotte wrote. “I appreciate all of the times students report concerning items and the many times each day a student says to a friend that something shouldn’t be done or said. Those can be hard moments, but they highlight the depth of character of so many of our students and the essence of what make NHS the strong community it is. We have incredible students and adults in this building, and offensive behavior like this does not reflect who we truly are.”
Sicotte believes the graffiti does not reflect the educational community within the school.
“This behavior is completely counter to our value of creating a caring community at Needham High School,” Sicotte wrote. “Every person at NHS has the right to learn without fear, without hate, and without harm, regardless of whether it is mental or physical.”