42CEDAR GROVE, NJ — The Cedar Grove Board of Education staff reported criminal mischief and graffiti inside Cedar Grove High School Thursday afternoon.

The school board told police that an unknown individual or persons had defaced a large ledge or shelf that runs along the back of one of the classrooms.

The graffiti was discovered inadvertently while the area was being cleaned. It was found under some books and papers that had been stored on the shelf for possibly as long as 10 years. The writing was about 2 to 3 inches long and the ink appeared faded from time. The graffiti in question was “an ethnic slur typically directed at African-Americans,” police said.

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The incident is being investigated as biased-based and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office will be notified in accordance with New Jersey Attorney General Guidelines regarding conducting Bias Incident Investigations. 

At this point all indications are that the graffiti is old, Cedar Grove Police Chief Joseph Cirasa said. The matter is isolated and there is no imminent threat to the community or individual. 

Detectives will continue the investigation in cooperation with county and state law enforcement, Cirasa said.

If anyone has any additional information or feels they should come forward, they can contact the Cedar Grove Police, 973-239-4100.