Legislators condemn anti-Semitic vandalism at Westport school

Photo of Tara O'Neill
File photo

File photo

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

WESTPORT — After anti-Semitic graffiti was found earlier this week at Staples High School, local legislators released a joint statement condemning the actions of those involved.

The graffiti was found in several places at Staples on Thursday night. Interim Superintendent David Abbey sent an evening email to parents and said that first a swastika was found carved onto a stall door in a bathroom, then additional swastikas were found in other locations. Abbey said one spot also had several Stars of David found next to an expletive.

The statement from legislators, released Saturday, begins with them denouncing the “despicable anti-Semitic vandalism.” It was signed by First Selectman Jim Marpe, Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, Selectwoman Melissa Kane, Sen. Tony Hwang, Sen. Will Haskell, Rep. Gail Lavielle and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg.

“Hatred, bias and terror have no place in Westport or any community,” the statement said.

The legislators expressed gratitude for the Westport School District leadership and Staples administration in handling the situation with sensitivity — and in cooperation with Westport police and the Anti-Defamation League.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the ADL to address the deeper problems that result in these incidents,” the legislators vowed in their joint statement.

The vandalism was removed by an extra night crew on Thursday to ensure they were gone before students arrived for school Friday morning.

Abbey said the school is working with Westport police on the investigation and is working to do “everything we can to deter these acts” and ensure a welcoming climate for all in the school district.

Legislators said Westport has always been a community of tolerance and respect.

“We are committed to re-doubling our efforts to teach our children and ourselves the importance of fighting bigotry and intolerance, and we will not be deterred from our continued vision that all are welcome and valued in our community,” the statement said.