ARLINGTON (CBS) – A Black Lives Matter banner at Arlington High School was spray-painted and vandalized, a school custodian discovered Thursday morning.
The banner, which said, “We Believe Black Lives Matter,” hung on a construction fence at the high school facing Massachusetts Avenue.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said the banner stated a shared principle and the school and that police are investigating the vandalism. “In the meantime, we will prioritize repairing or replacing the banner so that it can continue to serve as a visible reminder of our commitment to community-building for and among students, faculty, and staff alike. This only reinforces the importance of our ongoing efforts to further promote diversity, equity and inclusion at APS.”
The school district hung the banner after talks between administrators and the school’s Black Student Union and Arlington High School Anti-Racism Working Group.
“Vandalism like this is a painful reminder of how much work we must continue to do to become a safe, supportive, and inclusive town. The AHRC is deeply committed to continuing to work with all members of our community to deepen understanding and expand dialogue to help create a more welcoming Arlington,” said Co-Chairman of the Arlington Human Rights Commission Sharon Grossman.
“For my part, I’d ask whoever did this to do two things,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine. “First, to think about their actions and consider how hurtful they are to people in our community. Next, I’d ask them to learn more about our nation’s history and the lasting presence and impacts of structural racism. I suggest this because, once one fully confronts the history of our nation, it’s hard to disagree with the need to state clearly and plainly that Black Lives Matter.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Arlington Police Department.
“We are thoroughly investigating this incident and treating it with the utmost seriousness,” Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty said. “This act of vandalism not only damaged school property, but it sent a hurtful message to the entire community that contradicts the shared values the banner was meant to convey.”