The governor has asked the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance in a Setauket vandalism incident that involved anti-Semitic graffiti.
In an April 10 press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office, it was announced that he directed the task force to offer assistance to the Suffolk County Police Department Hate Crimes Unit in the investigation of anti-Semitic graffiti that was found on playground slides on the grounds of Setauket Elementary School April 4.
“I am appalled at media reports on the discovery of anti-semitic graffiti on Setauket Elementary School’s playground equipment on Long Island,” Cuomo said in the press release. “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. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately offer assistance in the investigation being conducted by the Suffolk County Police Department Hate Crimes Unit, and I look forward to seeing the people responsible for this crime brought to justice.”
In an April 5 letter to school district families, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said a community member alerted the district that the school’s playground slides had been vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and inappropriate language. The graffiti was cleaned before students returned to school April 6.
“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,” Pedisich said in the letter. “This type of reprehensible and criminal behavior, and the destruction of district property will not be tolerated.”
The superintendent asked that anyone who had information on the incident to reach out to the district or SCPD. She also encouraged families to discuss the negative consequences of such an act with children.
According to SCPD, there has been an investigation since police responded to the school on April 4 at approximately 12:05 p.m. The hate crimes unit does not believe the incident was aimed at one specific individual.