Swastika shocks Veterans School

The School Committee and interim Superintendent Theresa McGuinness addressed and condemned the drawing of a swastika that was found at Veterans Middle School last week.

Veterans Middle School Principal Matt Fox informed families last Thursday that a swastika had been found inside the school near the library and was immediately removed. Later that night, McGuinness began the committee’s meeting with a statement on the incident, reaffirming the district’s commitment to being an antiracist community. 

“We know that our most important job as leaders and educators is to provide a safe and secure environment where students are free to be, free to learn, and free to engage with each other in their education while maintaining a strong sense of their own identity and their belonging,” McGuinness said. “I want to be clear that hate has no home in Marblehead Public Schools.”

McGuinness also asked parents and families for their help in educating their children around these types of acts. She also referred to Fox’s letter to families, where he listed ways that the district is “building historical background knowledge so students will be more aware of the genocide that occurred during the Holocaust and more recent events and the pure hate and antisemitism that the swastika portrays.”

In Fox’s letter, he stated that police are currently investigating “the origin of this symbol of hate” as the school conducts its own investigation. 

“This graffiti is especially disheartening given the current globally impactful events in the Middle East,” Fox wrote in his letter. “We have taken tremendous steps at Veterans School and across the district to ensure that our students learn about the Holocaust and the world-altering impact that event has had on our worldwide community.”

He thanked the students who reported the graffiti to teachers and encourages parents to “speak with your children about this incident to ensure that they fully grasp the hateful meaning of this symbol.”

Committee Chair Sarah Fox thanked McGuinness for sharing her and Matt Fox’s statements, and added that hate anywhere, not just in Marblehead Schools, “cannot be tolerated, it cannot be normalized, it cannot be talked about.” 

Sarah Fox made a motion for the Committee to cosign Fox’s letter with McGuinness, which was unanimously approved.