Race-based hateful graffiti was discovered at Gaithersburg High School on Wednesday — the first day of Black History Month. It’s the second such instance this past week alone at GHS, according to a statement released by the County Council.
A GHS student scribbled the “N” word into the paint of a locker door in the boy’s locker room, Principal Cary Dimmick informed the community in a statement shared Sunday.
The graffiti was quickly removed thanks to reporting of a staff member, Dimmick wrote. The school is working with the district’s Office of School Security and Emergency Management and Office of School Support and Well-Being to investigate the incident.
“We need to continue to recognize our differences and show understanding, acceptance, and empathy towards each other,” Dimmick wrote. “When we use inappropriate words to describe each other, we are not respecting each other, nor are we creating a community of care.”
The two incidents at GHS are not isolated. Just last week, swastikas were found scrawled on the desks of two high school students, one at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and one at Magruder High School, according to information from the school principals. Five such incidents were reported across MCPS in January.
So far this year, antisemitic flyers have been deposited in Kensington, and a church’s Pride flag was found slashed in in half. Last week, an assailant hurled antisemitic statements during the violent robbery of a Jewish man in a Gaithersburg Giant.
This week, the county government announced the awarding of $800,000 in grants to boost security at houses of worship and nonprofits. Council President Evan Glass (D-At-Large) announced his intent to form an anti-hate task force.
In December, the entrance sign to Walt Whitman High School was defaced with antisemitic graffiti reading “Jews not welcome here” and several staff received anonymous antisemitic emails, prompting a schoolwide student walkout and nighttime vigils.
Principal Shelton Mooney alerted parents of the antisemitic graffiti found at B-CC through an email, obtained by Bethesda Beat on Wednesday. A student discovered the swastika drawn on a testing desk in the school auditorium, he wrote. The desk was removed by the administration, and the school is working with police to identify the culprit.
“Our school leadership will be working with the B-CC No Place for Hate club and our Jewish Culture Club to design and implement an Advisory lesson related to recognizing and confronting antisemitism,” he wrote.
The County Council thanked staff for their quick response and “prompt communication” following the graffiti found at GHS on Wednesday.
“The Council stands in solidarity with the GHS community and the entire Montgomery County Public School community in condemning all acts of hate and racism,” the County Council’s statement read. “To ensure we are an inclusive community, we all must become actively conscious about racism and take actions to end racial inequities.”