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Graffiti of swastikas, anti-black message and shooting threat found in bathroom of elite NYC school: cops

A group of people outside of a building with Rajeshwari Gayakwad detected.
A group of people outside of a building with Rajeshwari Gayakwad detected.

Racist and hateful graffiti including multiple swastikas and a school-shooting threat were found on the wall of an elite Manhattan high school last week, authorities said Monday.

The disturbing graffiti included the messages “I Hate Blacks” and “I will shoot up the school,” cops said. They were found on a restroom stall at The Beacon School on West 44th Street near 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen on Thursday, cops said.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the troubling vandalism, and no arrests had been made by Monday evening, police confirmed.

Multiple swastikas, as well as the racist message “I Hate Blacks” and an ominous threat: “I will shoot up the school,” were found on a bathroom stall, cops said. Matthew McDermott
Multiple swastikas, as well as the racist message “I Hate Blacks” and an ominous threat: “I will shoot up the school,” were found on a bathroom stall, cops said. Matthew McDermott

The school, founded in 1993, has about 1,500 students enrolled and is the alma mater of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara.

In response to the incident, city Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer said Chancellor David Banks “has repeatedly made it clear that all forms of bias and hate – including antisemitism – have no place in our public schools.”

“In January, he addressed this head-on by emphasizing that education and appropriate consequences must be at the center of addressing bigoted beliefs and misconceptions that students might bring to school with them,” Styer said in a Monday statement.

“Upon discovery, the bathroom was immediately locked, and NYPD was called,” Styer said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have increased the security supports at the school as NYPD continues to investigate.”

The selective high school is home to about 1,500 students. @bdatnyc / Instagram
The selective high school is home to about 1,500 students. @bdatnyc / Instagram

Beacon’s principal, Johnny A. Ventura, called the racist graffiti “deplorable and unacceptable” in a series of messages sent to families, obtained by The New York Times.

“As a Black Latino, my first set of emotions upon hearing and seeing this was anger, and then sadness that someone at our school would choose to write this,” Ventura wrote. “We embrace diversity and inclusion at Beacon. A threat to one of us is a threat to all of us.”

Two police cruisers could be seen outside the school’s entrance as students arrived Monday morning, the Times reported.

In 2019, a black teacher told cheering Beacon students to boycott the elite campus over an alleged racism-related incident.
In 2019, a black teacher told cheering Beacon students to boycott the elite campus over an alleged racism-related incident.

“I was shocked,” student Ava Baranowski, 15, told the paper, but said she still felt “pretty safe” regardless.

Baranowski added that some students may have viewed the graffiti as “a joke”– “but it is really serious,” she said.

“I think a lot of people were scared to come to school on Friday,” the sophomore said.

Students at Beacon High School participated in a sit-in in 2019.
Students at Beacon High School participated in a sit-in in 2019.

Beacon’s “equity statement” touts its commitment to “holistically care for all members of our diverse community by consistently accounting for our actions and redressing structural inequities.”

“In the context of a white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist, patriarchal society, we radically commit our energies and resources to a vigilantly self-reflexive, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive school environment,” the statement, posted on its website, says. “Our journey is individual and collective.”

In 2019, a black teacher at the school told cheering students to boycott the campus after an incident involving a white Jewish girl sparked complaints about a racist environment.