FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — The principal of a Framingham elementary school apologized to the community after a 10-year-old student found a hateful note and then a death threat in her cubby. Hemenway Elementary School Principal Liz Simon, Superintendent Dr. Robert Tremblay, and members of an interfaith council spoke with the media Wednesday.
The first note found by the fifth-grade girl Friday morning said: “you’re a terrorist.” On Tuesday, the girl found another note that said: “I will kill you.”
The Framingham Police Department is now assisting Framingham Public Schools investigate the notes as a possible hate crime.
“I am heartbroken and I think my whole community is because this is not just a one and done. This is something we live every single day with every single student trying to make them feel respected and included and it’s devastating that this incident occurred,” said Simon.
She told the media she was transparent and told students about what happened after the first note during “open circle.” “I told them that it said ‘you’re a terrorist’ and the students — well some of the students didn’t know what a terrorist was so we had to explain that — and then I did explain to them that this is unacceptable.”
Simon also said she told students the notes could be a hate crime and talked about what a hate crime was.
Superintendent Tremblay said, “When you think about a child in fifth grade, that kind of hate — where does that come from? It’s not an innate feeling that a child would have. Where is this coming from? And the concern that we have is how is it a teachable opportunity in our classroom?”
He also said, “While it’s not great to be featured on media right now for a hate issue, I think it presents an opportunity for a bigger conversation in communities across the commonwealth. This is not a Framingham problem.”
Tremblay added he does not believe there was an imminent danger but restated that safety is their first priority.
In the meantime, Simon has had all of the fifth-graders write a note to the girl showing their support.
“We pride ourselves as being an inclusive, warm, caring community and I do feel that we are, but obviously, we have someone who’s not feeling respectful and is not respecting the rights of others. So I’m sorry,” she said.