Dear Reading Community,
Over the weekend, a member of the community reported to the Reading Police Department that there was additional graffiti in the form of a swastika symbol etched onto the wooden fence on the street side of Oakland Road adjacent to the RMHS Fine and Performing Arts side of the Reading Memorial High School property. The etched swastika was enclosed in the shape of a window, with the word “no” in front of it. It is unclear when the swastika was etched onto the fence and the incident is currently under investigation by the Reading Police Department.
As we have mentioned in previous communication to you over the last few months regarding other graffiti related incidences, there is no place for these types of hateful actions in the Reading Public Schools or in our community. During the summer, the graffiti incidents from last spring have been on the forefront of our planning for this upcoming school year. In June, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty and Deputy Chief David Clarke met with members of the Jewish Community to discuss the graffiti incidents and to listen to their concerns and possible next steps. The school department has been updating the Bullying Prevention Plan which will be implemented this upcoming school year to address issues of bullying, harassment, and bias incidents. Both the Town and Schools are working closely with the Anti-Defamation League in how we can create a more inclusive community that respects differences. In addition, the Reading Clergy Association has been working with a planning group of Town, School, and Community members to plan events in the fall that will address these issues. They will be communicating in the near future when the first event will take place. Although this graffiti incident happened outside of the school year, we will continue to use these situations as teachable moments for our students and help them understand the impact of these types of hateful actions and poor decisions. Finally, we will continue to work closely with the Reading Police Department and the Town of Reading to address these and any future issues.
If you have any questions or information regarding this incident, please contact the Reading Police Department at 781-944-1212.
John F. Doherty, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools