Police are investigating after anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered outside three Toronto schools, including Malvern Collegiate Institute, on Wednesday of this week.
Police said the incidents are being investigated as possible hate crimes.
The graffiti was discovered on the morning of Wednesday, March 2, on a container on the property of Malvern Collegiate (in the Hannaford Street and Lyall Avenue area); and on the outside of Central Technical High School (in the Bathurst and Harbord streets area) and Rosedale Heights School of the Arts (in the Bloor Street and Castle Frank Crescent area). All three schools are part of the Toronto District School Board.
“We are investigating and our specialized Hate Crime Unit is engaged,” said Toronto Police Chief James Ramer in a Tweet. “Hate crimes are a top priority for the Toronto Police and we are committed to combatting hate in our city.”
Police said there were similarities between all three acts of graffiti that warrant them being investigated together.
In a letter (obtained by CBC News) that was sent home to parents yesterday, Malvern Collegiate principal Sandy Kaskens said: “At Malvern C.I. we take great pride in our school as a welcoming, safe, and inclusive place so this is not only very upsetting — particularly for those in the Jewish community — but a completely unacceptable incident. Acts of antisemitism, racism, and all forms of discrimination, will not be tolerated.”
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said in a statement the graffiti is believed to have taken place sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
“We are working with Toronto police to provide any assistance that we can as they continue to investigate these incidents which are harmful and completely unacceptable on or off school property,” said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.
This week’s graffiti comes on the heels on other anti-Semitic incidents in TDSB schools earlier this month.
B’nai Brith Canada said that on Feb. 24 two students in a Grade 6 made a Hitler salute towards a Jewish teacher at Pleasant Public School in North York; on Feb. 17, three Grade 8 students at Valley Park Middle School in Thorncliffe Park surrounded a Jewish teacher and gave Hitler salutes; and on Feb. 1, two students at Charles H. Best Middle School in North York gave a Hitler salute in front of their class.
In a Feb. 22 statement, TDSB Director of Education Colleen Ruissell-Rawlins said the board “must interrupt and confront racism, discrimination and hate, in all of its forms, when we see or hear it.”
She said, “It is my commitment that we focus on eradicating it at both the systemic and local school levels and that we will move toward more proactively educating about the roots of racism and hate.”