SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Community members are expressing their outrage over racist, anti-Semitic and vulgar graffiti that was spray-painted on the outside of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School sometime before the weekend began. 

Pictures of the offensive messages spread rapidly over social media, and members of the Jewish community quickly condemned the perpetrators.

"Many in our community have been deeply saddened and angered by the vandalism and hate that was displayed at the high school. While the police and administration are doing what needs to be done to catch the perpetrators, we want to send a strong message," Debbie Gabbai Kanterman wrote on Facebook's Scotch Plains/Fanwood Community Page. 

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"We can overpower the few that express hate with a unified message that HATE HAS NO PLACE HERE."

Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, said his organization has contacted Homeland Security and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. 

"We’re deeply shocked and offended by the vile racist and hate-filled graffiti that was found on the wall of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School," Ben-Shimon said. "We have reached out to the Scotch Plains police, who are investigating. We’re grateful for their service in protecting the community."

"We understand that this is being treated for now as a bias crime," Ben-Shimon added. "Words and symbols of this kind are evil, shameful and stand in opposition to all that we value."

The group SPF Parents United, which invited Dianne Grossman to speak about anti-bullying earlier this week, is organizing a rally to show residents comprise a community of inclusion, compassion and resiliency.

The event will likely take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Anthony Fiore, an organizer of SPF Parents United, a volunteer group of parents who collaborate with schools and the community to create a physically and mentally safe environment for children.

This is the second incident in the area involving swastikas.

On Wednesday, a swastika was found scrawled inside a bathroom at Franklin Elementary School in neighboring Westfield, school officials there said.

An elementary-aged student admitted to etching the swastika at the school in Westfield, school officials said of the incident, which prompted community concern.

“We are past the time when we can look at acts of anti-Semitism bigotry or racism in any form and not respond,” Rabbi Douglas Sagal of Temple Emanu-El in Westfield had said. "We are living in a time of heightened bigotry. Hate crimes are on the rise."

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