Editors Note: The following statement about the graffiti found at Parker Middle School was read by Select Board Member Vanessa Alverado and posted on her Facebook account.
Another swastika has been found on a town building. We have had so many, it almost feels routine. This latest one was accompanied by what can only be described as a direct threat against our Jewish neighbors. Let me state clearly: This is not routine. And it is not acceptable.
The fact that someone feels emboldened to express hatred in such a public manner is a problem for every member of this community.
There are those who may attribute the graffiti to misguided youth, a harmless prank. Perhaps some may think that if we ignore it, they’ll stop because they aren’t getting the desired response. That’s an easy approach for those who weren’t threatened with the same horrific acts committed by the Nazis.
I have heard this behavior referred to as saddening or disheartening. But these terms are inadequate to convey the magnitude of the offenses. More accurately, they are a criminal act and a blatant affront to human decency and American moral values.
The leaders of our schools have stood up against this. Our religious leaders have stood up against this. Now it is past time for this board to stand up against this in word and more importantly, in action. I, as a member of this board and as a member of this community, reject the idea that our town should passively accept these threats as a normal occurrence.
To start, I believe this board should partner with HRAC, Reading Embraces Diversity – RED, the School Committee and our public safety officers to counter the very real and corrosive ideas behind these actions.
This is our community and hate has no home here.