WESTFIELD, NJ — A 13-year-old student at Edison Intermediate School faces five counts of criminal mischief in connection with various forms of hateful graffiti depicted on the restroom walls at that school, police said Wednesday.
“The Westfield Police Department takes incidents like these extremely seriously,” Chief Chris Battiloro said in a statement. “They have absolutely no place in our schools or in our community and will not be tolerated.”
The charges have been lodged against the boy in connection to incidents, which occurred Nov. 19 – 29, after each of which school officials immediately reported to the Westfield Police Department, police said.
The charges have been referred to the family division of Superior Court in Union County, police said.
Wednesday’s announcement follows a strong statement of condemnation town and school officials issued Dec. 10 in connection with the incidents.
“As members of the Town Council and the Board of Education, and more importantly as residents of Westfield and parents of children in the Westfield schools, we are deeply disturbed by the recent acts of hate appearing in our schools and elsewhere in surrounding communities,” the joint statement said.
“We would like to reiterate our joint commitment in condemning all acts of racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and expressions of hatred targeting any minority group, religion, or ideology.”
The criminal charges, which were approved by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Juvenile Unit, are the result of a joint investigation conducted by Detective Dennis DaSilva of the Westfield Police Department and school officials, Wednesday's release said.