A photo of the Paul D. Schreiber High School sign...

A photo of the Paul D. Schreiber High School sign in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday

A conversation among a group of 14-year-old friends at Port Washington's Paul D. Schreiber High School that included what district officials termed racist, antisemitic and bullying remarks led to a police investigation Thursday. It also prompted a letter to the school community from Superintendent Michael J. Hynes, advising that the five students involved will face disciplinary action.

In a statement Friday, Port Washington police said they were alerted to "a report of a suspected bias incident" involving the teens on Thursday and said "an immediate investigation was conducted with full cooperation of the Port Washington School District."

But, police said, it appears there was no criminality involved — and that there was "no threat to the school or community at large."

Police said the five students, who were not named due to their age, all appear to be friends and made the comments while talking and texting between themselves.

Police Chief Robert Del Muro said those exchanges were overheard and reported to school officials, who then notified police.

In a letter to the school community Thursday night, Hynes called it "a disturbing incident," adding: "It is with great disappointment and a commitment to transparency that I address the issues of racism, antisemitism, and bullying that recently occurred involving several of our high school students. ... These incidents are in direct opposition to the values and principles that guide our district's vision, mission, and Portrait of a Graduate we strive to cultivate."

The letter went on to state: "Racism, antisemitism, and bullying in any form have no place in our schools or in the Port Washington community. We are committed to taking measures to address these issues and prevent such incidents from happening in the future. We believe that education plays a pivotal role in combating hate and promoting tolerance." 

It also said the district will continue to partner with the Holocaust Tolerance and Museum Center in Glen Cove, as well as other organizations "dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding ... ."

The district said that the students involved and "found responsible for this offensive behavior" will be disciplined in accordance with the district code of conduct.

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