By Ken MacLeod


ARLINGTON (CBS) – Students at Arlington High School are accused of vandalism and hate crimes at their own school last week.

The white spray from fire extinguishers emptied by the vandals covered the floor as did the glass from shattered vending machines, but the spray-painted anti-gay slurs and swastikas were removed from the outside walls before the school day began.

“If it was just meant to be a senior prank, it was in extremely poor taste and I don’t think that should excuse anything,” parent Justin Sweder said.

So far, police have identified 14 students, all boys, who broke into the school in the wee hours of last Wednesday morning.

The spray-painted slurs were apparently a parting shot.

Anna Watson heads up the town’s newly formed Rainbow Commission and hopes this episode is a teachable moment.

“You know, it hurts,” Watson said. “We need to understand that these are hateful words and symbols and there is no way that this is a joke.”

Students write positive messages at Arlington High School (WBZ-TV)

And toward that end, students were invited to share their feelings on the incident on the bricks of the school itself. Some took it a step further.

“We wore black last Friday to show our solidarity, and that we don’t believe in those things,” said student Noah Sweder.

At this point, we don’t know what disciplinary action the school has taken against the offending students.

Police tell us they’re still investigating.

Ken MacLeod

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