Hate symbols discovered in Staples


Photo by Eddie Kiev '20

Hate symbols found in the bathrooms were painted over the night of Sept. 12.

Dana Perelberg '20, Paper Managing Editor

Multiple hate symbols––including a carving of a swastika––were uncovered at Staples High School on the evening of Sept. 12. 

Upon the discovery of a swastika carved into a bathroom stall door, the administration called in the Westport Police Department to assist them in inspecting the school for additional vandalism. Following further examination, several swastikas were uncovered, as well as a drawing of Stars of David found next to an expletive. 

Westport families were notified of the incident by an email sent by Superintendent David Abbey that night. Abbey assured recipients that the symbols would be removed before school the next morning. These symbols were then painted over the night of Sept. 12.

Our high school principal, Mr. Thomas, will be contacting the high school staff this evening to inform them of these hateful acts and to prepare for school tomorrow,” the email said.

The email also announced that students would be provided support and discuss the issue in connections, the student advisory period, on the following day. Teachers were given additional information on the incident as well as guiding questions to facilitate discussion among their students.

In the days ahead we will do everything we can to deter these acts throughout our district.”

— Superintendent David Abbey

“We take these acts seriously and are actively partnering with the Westport Police Department as move forward with the investigation,” the email read. “In the days ahead we will do everything we can to deter these acts throughout our district––and through our daily efforts, work to create a climate where all are welcomed and valued.”

An email was sent to on Friday, Sept. 13 to update students on the hate symbols and the school’s next actions.

On Monday and Tuesday of next week, social studies classes will use an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) inspired method to address hate symbols and the negative impact they have on a community,” the Sept. 13 email said.  “In addition, we have partnered with the ADL to work on programming to help our students become more active participants in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment.

In addition, the email informed students that hatred was unacceptable and that Staples would be working towards a more accepting environment.

I want to make it clear that this is the start of a process where we will address items, which in this day and age, shouldn’t still be issues but clearly are,” the email read. “Helping students to see what is possible, what is not acceptable and what should never be created for others to see or hear will be fundamental to the work we engage in.”