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Cops probe anti-Semitic graffiti on Setauket Elementary School playground

Setauket Elementary School, part of the Three Village

Setauket Elementary School, part of the Three Village School District, is seen Friday. Credit: Newsday

Anti-Semitic symbols and hateful language were discovered Sunday carved into playground equipment at Setauket Elementary School, Suffolk police said, prompting Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to direct a state hate crimes task force to help in the investigation.

The graffiti, carved into the playground slides, was found by members of the community shortly after noon Sunday, Cheryl Pedisich, superintendent of the Three Village school district, wrote in a letter to parents this week.

The graffiti has been removed and the space thoroughly cleaned, she said.

The incident is being investigated by Suffolk County Police Hate Crimes Unit detectives, who said Friday that the messages were not targeting a specific individual. No arrest has been made.

On Saturday, Cuomo's office released a statement saying that he has directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer help in the investigation.

"I am appalled at media reports on the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti on Setauket Elementary School's playground equipment on Long Island. This hateful graffiti is diametrically opposed to the values of tolerance and understanding that are pillars of the society we've built in New York State, and the fact that it was found in a place of learning for young children makes it even more disturbing."

Pedisich wrote: "The district takes these matters very seriously and does not condone the use or promotion of hateful messages or references on our campus or elsewhere. This type of reprehensible and criminal behavior, and the destruction of district property will not be tolerated."

Police ask anyone with information about the vandalism to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

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