READING (CBS) — According to Reading Superintendent John Doherty, there have been more than 20 incidences of hate-filled messages since 2016, and multiple have been in the last few months.
“We are at a point now where we are frustrated and angry of what’s going on,” Doherty told WBZ-TV. He said he has had enough and the people behind the racist graffiti and anti-somatic symbols need to take a lesson in tolerance and respect.
“It has ramped up the last couple of weeks,” said Doherty. “The first two were in early to mid-October, were swastikas which certainly impacted our Jewish community. We did have one last week that was written in a bathroom that impacted our LGBTQ community. And these are threatening remarks. And then the last two, which happened in the last couple of days, have impacted students of color.”
The graffiti has been found in the hallways, bathrooms, and classrooms of the middle and high schools, even the town library has been vandalized. The images have been removed and pictures are now in police custody.
Reading senior Sean Fisher is saddened by what’s going on. “I think is important to show these kids that are doing it, that it’s not a joke.”
Angela Binda, a parent, said, “It’s an awful thing to see what’s happening our community and I don’t know what’s causing it.”
The school has put forth curriculum to combat the racism and threatening messages. On Saturday night, the school will also hold a vigil to bring the community together.
“We want to stop but we also want our students to be empowered and be upstanders,” said Doherty.
Police are asking anyone with information on who is behind the messages to contact them.