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Vandalism at Peterborough elementary school deemed hate bias crime: police

Peterborough police say vandalism found at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School has been deemed a hate bias crime. St. Catherine Catholic Elementary/Facebook

Police are calling vandalism at a Peterborough elementary school a hate bias crime.

According to the Peterborough Police Service, the vandalism was discovered by school officials at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School on Monday before the start of the school day. The school is located on Glenforest Boulevard. in the city’s west end.

“Given the nature of the vandalism, Peterborough Police has classified the incident as a hate bias crime,” police said Tuesday.

Read more: Peterborough police charge white nationalist leader Kevin Goudreau with ‘hate bias’ crimes

Police did not state what the vandalism entailed. Police say a hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by the offender’s hate bias against a racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation or disability group.

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However, in a letter sent home to students and parents, principal Karen Procyk said staff found “anti-Black, homophobic and other profane messages spray painted on the exterior of the school and portables.”

“Fortunately, school staff were able to cover the messages before students arrived this morning,” the letter stated.

Procyk said the school community is dedicated to creating a “safe, inclusive, and loving learning environment.”

“We are shocked and saddened that this has occurred,” the letter states. “Whether the vandalism was perpetrated by someone outside our school community or within, we take this opportunity to fully condemn racism, homophobia, discrimination and hate in all its forms. Our school board is committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination and to embed equity and inclusive education, anti-racism, human rights, and Indigenous education into all its policies, procedures, programs, operations, and practices.”Displays of hate such as this show how much work still needs to be done to educate students and our broader school communities about racism and discrimination as we put our commitment to equity into action.”

Acting chief of police Tim Farquharson says the activity is not only disappointing to see, but “has no place in our community.”

“We know that many groups including the police service are working in their own ways to foster a more inclusive and accepting community,” he said.  “We are committed to continuing those efforts.”

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Anyone with information is asked to call Peterborough police at 705-876-1122 x555 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at stopcrimehere.ca.

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