Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport, where a parent discovered a...

Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport, where a parent discovered a swastika etched into a playground slide, Suffolk police said.   Credit: Google Maps

A swastika was found etched onto playground equipment at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport, Suffolk police said.

A school district parent discovered the antisemitic graffiti Monday night on a playground slide, authorities said. Custodial crews removed the swastika Tuesday morning, only hours before the school’s annual "Welcome Back Fair," district officials said.

"We have alerted the Northport Village Police who are investigating the incident as well as contacted the Suffolk County Police Department Hate Crimes Unit," wrote Robert Banzer, superintendent of the Northport-East School District in a letter to the community Tuesday. "We will fully cooperate with the police department in their investigation, including providing video surveillance footage."

The school district filed a police report on the vandalism, which appears to be an isolated incident, authorities said.

But the founders of Not In Our Town Northport, an anti-hate group established last summer, said swastikas and other graphic images were spray-painted last year on Dickinson Avenue Elementary School in East Northport.

"There is clearly hate and bigotry in our community," group leaders wrote in a letter to district officials. "We must ask: what has this district done in the year since the Dickinson incident, other than just paint over the symbols and words of hate? What actions has this district taken to show unequivocally that this will not be tolerated?"

Banzer said in the letter that the district has "zero tolerance" for discrimination.

"I want to be clear that this symbol of antisemitism, or any other intolerant symbol or slur, has no place in our school community or society," he wrote. "The individuals responsible for this hateful act are subject to criminal charges and discipline according to the district’s code of conduct."

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Suffolk police at 631-261-7500.

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