STAFFORD, Conn — Police and neighbors in Stafford are looking for answers after anti-Semitic and white supremacist graffiti was recently discovered on a vacant school building.
Around 9:45 p.m., police officers responded to a report of graffiti to which the CT State Police Hate Crimes Unit was assigned to investigate.
Pictures show at least two swastikas and a number associated with white supremacy that was spray-painted on the back of the old Borough Elementary School on Prospect Street, which is now vacant.
A neighborhood canvas revealed that the graffiti had been present on the building for a year or longer, police said.
“It’s painful,” said Rabbi James Greene of Stafford. He learned about the graffiti about ten days ago when his daughter got word of it from friends.
“So she was Googling, ‘What does this number mean? What’s going on here?’ and she’s asking me why do these people not want us here?” said Greene.
Greene reported the graffiti to Stafford First Selectman Sal Titus, who said the incident is not reflective of town values.
“Obviously every town has issues, but I don’t think we have a racism issue,” said Titus.
As for removing the graffiti, Titus said the town no longer has control over the Borough School. An agreement turned maintenance of the building over to a different establishment.
“That kind of imagery is not welcome in our town and when 11 days after we’ve notified the town that that exists, and it’s still up, it’s simply unacceptable,” said Greene.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents like this are on the rise.
“In the state of Connecticut over the last four years, we’ve seen a 20-fold increase in the amount of white supremacist and racist incidents,” said Anti-Defamation League Connecticut Regional Director Stacey Sobel.
Titus said his office is in touch with the building owners.
“I believe they’re in the process, if they haven’t already, of going up there and cleaning it off,” said Titus.
The First Selectman also added that Connecticut State Police are investigating the incident. There is no word yet on any suspects.
The Town Public Works Department is making arrangements to remove the graffiti, police said.
Editor's Note: City officials said that the American School for the Deaf owned the building, but FOX61 learned that is incorrect and the article has been updated to reflect that.
Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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