SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Members of the local community 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 were quick to condemn 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. "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 that his organization has also 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 this week, is organizing a rally to show we are 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.
Disturbingly, this is the second incident in the local area involving swastikas. During the week, the anti-Jewish symbol was scrawled inside a bathroom at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield. In addition, anti-Semitic flyers have been found around Watchung and according to an unverified Facebook post, anti-Semitic flyers were found on a resident's property in Berkeley Heights.