Etobicoke high school investigates after racist graffiti found in bathrooms
Incidents reported to Toronto police, who are also investigating
An Etobicoke high school is investigating after multiple cases of racist graffiti were found in its bathrooms.
Anti-Black graffiti was found on three separate bathrooms on the first and second floors of Etobicoke School of the Arts, the school said in a letter sent to parents Wednesday.
In the letter, principal Grant Fawthrop called the incidents "upsetting and unacceptable."
"We take issues like this, which make any member of our community feel unsafe or unwelcome, very seriously," wrote Fawthrop. "Acts of anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination will not be tolerated."
Toronto District School Board spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz confirmed to CBC News the graffiti was first found by Black students Tuesday evening during rehearsal for a Black History Month assembly, with more found the following morning.
Schwartz-Maltz said the graffiti has since been removed.
Fawthrop added the school has launched an investigation and is taking "immediate steps" to address the issue. Those steps include contacting Toronto police who have opened a separate investigation.
They also include consulting with TDSB equity advisors and other staff for new ways to address anti-Black racism, as well as to increase student and staff knowledge of anti-Black racism.
"We are incredibly upset this happened," said Fawthrop in an email to CBC News. "Please know our school holds the values of social justice, equity, and inclusiveness near and dear to our hearts and will continue to do so every day."
In a tweet, York Centre councillor and former TDSB trustee James Pasternak said he was disturbed by the incidents.
As a former trustee, I am disturbed by the anti-black graffiti discovered in Etobicoke School of the Arts, especially on Black Month History. No student should ever have to feel unsafe or unwelcome in their learning environment. <a href="https://t.co/1MiQ8RALj7">https://t.co/1MiQ8RALj7</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tdsb?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tdsb</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ward6?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ward6</a>—@PasternakTO
The racist graffiti comes just days after two North York students "depicted" swastikas and performed a Nazi salute in front of classmates, and a teacher was removed after likening COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the yellow Star of David used to identify Jews during the Holocaust.
Fawthrop says counselling and support is available for students, staff and family who reach out.