The McGilvra Elementary school grounds were tagged with hate messages over the weekend, the graffiti quickly erased and Seattle Police notified of the incident, which occurred on the heels of the deadly anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“We are horrified and disgusted by these messages, especially as this happened on the same weekend as the attack on a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh,” McGilvra principal Maria Breuder wrote in a letter to McGilvra parents on Monday, Oct. 29.
A spokesperson with the Seattle Police Department tells MPT the graffiti was cleaned up before officers arrived, adding SPD does not typically provide information regarding the types of messages that are tagged.
“It is something that would be classified as biased,” he said.
The McGilvra principal identified the hate messages as targeting both the Jewish and black communities.
Breuder asked students and families to report if they saw anything over the weekend.
“Hate has no place in this school. We will use this as an opportunity to remind ourselves why we are here. This is an opportunity for education, a time to remind ourselves that we, as a school community, stand for respect and inclusion,” Breuder wrote on Oct. 29. “We must be a place where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. That is the work that lies before us.”
While the school custodian did remove the graffiti before students and families arrived on Monday, McGilvra Elementary teachers are discussing the incident “in developmentally appropriate ways,” according to a follow-up email Breuder sent to parents on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“A discussion at 4th/5th grade looks different than 3rd grade, which also looks different from Kindergarten. As I mentioned yesterday, our focus with our students is on the opportunity to continue to TEACH,” Breuder wrote. “We are teaching our students about how we treat each other, how we learn more about each other, how we are kind and compassionate citizens….how to care for our community. We are taking a proactive approach with educating our children in the ways we know best.”
There are eight security cameras in and around the school’s new lunchroom, and SPS plans to install 12 more around the McGilvra campus, Breuder wrote.
“We understand that this timeline is not immediate, so the PTA is exploring options for surveillance cameras to be brought in the interim,” Breuder wrote.
A community meeting is being held 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the cafeteria of McGilvra Elementary, 1617 38th Ave. E.
If anyone knows anything about the vandalism, they can contact SPS safety and security at 206-252-0707 or email@example.com.
McGilvra Graffiti by branax2000 on Scribd