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Pittsford School District Supt. responds to racist graffiti found at a high school

Pittsford Schools

The Pittsford School District Superintendent is responding to reports on Wednesday about racist graffiti found on a table in a classroom in the Pittsford Mendon High School.

The Democrat & Chroniclewas among the media outlets reporting that the high school principal wrote an email to staff saying that a student had seen the n-word and a swastika written in a table and “had a visceral reaction.” That email reportedly asked staff to check tables and desks to look for any similar vandalism and let administrators know if they find anything as well as listen to any concerns about the graffiti from students.

Superintendent Mike Pero has released a message on the district’s websitesaying that “the abhorrent vandalism was immediately removed,” and he expressed gratitude to students who are standing up to “these types of intolerable acts.”

Pero wrote that, “Racism, discriminatory actions, and hurtful speech will not be tolerated in our schools,” and he says faculty and staff are committed to swiftly dealing with all acts of bias.

The D&C also reported that a biracial student this week filed a notice that she and her family intend to sue the district because of alleged racial slurs she and others have been dealing with and what they feel has been a poor response from district officials.

The Pittsford School District has dealt with pressure in recent weeks to deal with reported acts of racism, or insensitivity.

Earlier this month, parents and community members packed the cafeteria at Calkins Road Middle School. They were there to discuss the Pittsford School District’s response to a botched Black History Month assignment and the allegations of racism that followed.

In the message Pero released on Wednesday evening, he reiterated that the Pittsford district has developed specific action steps that will be occurring between now and the end of the school year. Pero says that officials  will work over the summer to develop long term plans “to help ensure a more fully inclusive culture.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.