File footage: Antisemitism
File footage: AntisemitismiStock

Antisemitic and anti-Black graffiti was found at three schools in Newmarket, north of Toronto, over the past two days, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to a letter from the York Region District School Board’s (YRDSB) Associate Director of Education, Cecil Roach, “images of a swastika and the N-word were etched in bathroom stalls” in two secondary schools and “a swastika was drawn on an interior door” in an elementary school.

The York Regional Police confirmed the incidents occurred at Glen Cedar Public School, Newmarket High School and Huron Heights Secondary School. Police and the schools are conducting investigations, and notes regarding the incidents have been sent to the school communities.

“We are saddened to once again hear of more hateful graffiti found at schools, this time in Newmarket,” said Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO. “These growing incidences of hate create a toxic environment for all students and staff and must be addressed with the highest priority by education leaders. In addition to identifying and holding accountable those who carried out these hateful acts, we expect a commitment by the YRDSB and the schools to bringing additional education on antisemitism and racism to both the individuals involved in the incidents and all students.”

The incidents in Newmarket follow a spate of antisemitic incidents in schools in the Toronto area.

Last week, Toronto police launched an investigation after antisemitic graffiti was located outside of schools in three areas of the city.

At the beginning of February, students performed a Nazi salute and depicted the swastika in front of students at the Charles H. Best Middle School, located in the Bathurst Manor neighborhood of North York, which has a significant Jewish population.

A week later, students at the Valley Park Middle School performed a Nazi salute in front of a Jewish teacher.

A similar incident occurred last week, when students at Pleasant Public School in North York performed the Hitler salute in class, this time targeting a Jewish teacher in a Grade 6 classroom.

In January, antisemitic graffiti was found on the school building of a former synagogue and at a park in the city of Markham.