By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven School Department and Fairhaven Police Department are investigating an incident of racial graffiti at Elizabeth Hastings Middle School. The graffiti, which included the N-word, was found in a boys’ bathroom, according to school officials and some parents with students at the school.
According to sources, Principal Kyle J. Alves reportedly visited each classroom with a strong message to students that racist graffiti is not acceptable. A statement from Superintendent Tara Quirk Kohler confirmed the reports.
School Committee Chairperson Colin Veitch also confirmed that an incident occured.
“It is being investigated by the school administration according to our civil rights policies. The SRO (School Resource Officer) was also notified,” said Mr. Veitch.
Ms. Kohler released a statement saying that the graffiti was discovered on January 17 and included “racist language.”
“In accordance with our Civil Rights Policy, an investigation into the incident was opened immediately,” she said. “The building Principal has reiterated our expectations to students that when they hear and see this type of behavior, they should report it.”
Ms. Kohler wrote that administrators are conducting a school-based investigation and have also referred the incident to the Fairhaven Police Department.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable and does not reflect the values of the Fairhaven Public Schools Community,” wrote Ms. Kohler. “Student safety is and will continue to be our top priority.”
In a follow-up interview, Ms. Kohler said that schools do often have graffiti and they always investigate, but only refer it to the police when it crosses a line. In this instance, she said, it was clearly racist, so it the school referred it to the police.
She said it was good that students reported the graffiti. She said it was an opportunity for the school to remind students of the rules and to talk about the behavior.
She was happy, she said, that the principal spoke to students.
The town also had an instance of racist graffiti on the Rogers School, which is empty. The words “F**k ni***rs,” with the drawing of a penis was scrawled on the wall outside. (See 11/23/23 issue.)
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