Sensitivity training is planned for students at the North Shore Middle School in Glen Head after racist graffiti was discovered in a boys bathroom last week, district officials said.
North Shore Schools Superintendent Ed Melnick said in a telephone interview Monday that the graffiti was reported to school officials by a boy who saw the hate message, written in magic marker, on a wall Friday morning.
Melnick said Nassau police are investigating and he declined to reveal the content of the message.
“The police asked me not to repeat it — it was racist comments,” Melnick said. He added it is believed the message was written on Friday. “The police have been called and are investigating this to the fullest.”
A police spokeswoman said, “It’s an active investigation,” and declined to give details.
Melnick said that later on Friday an emailed letter was sent to middle school parents informing them of the incident and of the police investigation. He said the parents were also asked to speak to their children about the impact of such actions on others.
The incident prompted some students at the Glen Cove Avenue school to immediately take action of their own, Melnick said.
“The student government came forward and wanted to do an awareness campaign and they’re getting speakers,” Melnick said.
Melnick said a variety of speakers would visit the middle school to address the issue of racism and anti-Semitism. He said that among the organizations the district has contacted for speakers are the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League.
The school’s principal, Marc Ferris, said that on Monday night parents and students have been invited to a “town hall meeting” with school officials to select speakers and set plans for when the talks would begin. He said the first speaker may visit the school as early as Friday.
“It’s good to engage the students as well,” in deciding who will give the talks, Ferris said. “We wanted the kids to have a voice.”
Ferris said no other racist incidents have happened before this one in the 15 years he has been with the district.
“Our school is a caring place,” Ferris said. “This happened and it was atrocious and we’re definitely addressing it.”