Police investigate after antisemitic, racist graffiti found at Newmarket schools

WATCH: Racist, antisemitic, homophobic graffiti found inside two York Region schools

Police are investigating after antisemitic, anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ2 graffiti was found at two schools in Newmarket.

In an email to Global News on Wednesday, York Regional Police officers said the first incident occurred on March 4, when officers were called to Newmarket High School.

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Police said an anti-Black remark had been carved into a washroom stall in the boys’ washroom.

A few days later, on March 7, officers were called back to Newmarket High School for a report that two carvings had been located in the school.

Police said one of the carvings was antisemitic, the other was anti-LGBTQ2.

The next day, police said officers were called to Huron Heights Secondary School after graffiti was located in the boys’ washroom.

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“The graffiti included a number of drawings, profanities and male genitalia as well as some possibly anti-Black and antisemitic graffiti that has been partially scribbled over,” the email read.

According to police, in “all cases” the graffiti was “quickly removed.”

“Officers are investigating these incidents and are working closely with the schools,” the email said.

In a statement emailed to Global News Wednesday evening, the York Regional District School Board (YRDSB) said it was “disappointed to discover” that some of its schools in Newmarket “were targets of antisemitic, anti-Black racist and homophobic vandalism.”

“As a school board, we take these incidents seriously,” the email reads.

The board said each of the schools “immediately” contacted police after learning about the incidents.

The YRDSB said its inclusive school and community services team has notified agencies and leaders that “support Jewish and Black communities in an attempt to be transparent and provide wraparound support for students.”

The YRDSB said while the incidents are “very upsetting,” they occurred within a school board that is “explicitly committed to championing equity and inclusivity.”

In a press release issued Wednesday, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies Michael Levitt, said the organization is “saddened to once again hear of more hateful graffiti found at schools, this time in Newmarket.”

“These growing incidences of hate create a toxic environment for all students and staff and must be addressed with the highest priority by education leaders.”

In addition to identifying those responsible and holding them accountable, Levitt said he expects a “commitment by the YRDSB and the schools to bringing additional education on antisemitism and racism to both the individuals involved in the incidents and all students.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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