Evanston police investigating after racist messages found in school bathrooms

Friday, June 3, 2022
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Evanston police are investigating racist messages found at Nicols Middle School less than a month after a noose was found at another school.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Hateful, racist messages were found in an Evanston school Thursday less than a month after nooses were found at another school in the suburb.

According to Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton, a staff member found swastikas along with racist and hurtful messages written on stalls in two bathrooms at Nichols Middle School.

School officials acted quickly, closing the restrooms and contacting police.

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This incident comes just weeks after three nooses were found at Haven and Kingsley schools, hanging from a tree above a memorial for a teacher.

In this latest incident, the superintendent released a statement to school families and staff saying in part, "These incidents have a long lasting effect on our students, staff, and families. As a community, we cannot allow this type of harm to continue without repercussion and repair."

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The news came as a shock to school parents Friday morning.

"I'm at a loss to even think the people that live around me, I have a business in town as well, the people that I see every day, I don't see that in them but at the same time, I go, 'What am I missing?' "It's there. It's behind some of these people," parent Cesar Maron said.

"I just came from sitting with my daughter and a bunch of her friends at an eighth grade graduation party are all outraged and then immediately said, What can we do? And that's the key we have to take is not to say let's pretend it didn't happen," said Rabbi Rachel Weiss, whose daughter graduated from the school Thursday.

"These incidents have a long lasting effect on our students, staff, and families. As a community, we cannot allow this type of harm to continue without repercussion and repair."

Police said both incidents are still being investigated and not being labeled a hate crime yet.

"The investigation is going to tell us whether it's an alarming, insensitive, inflammatory prank or something more serious," said Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew. "The more information we have, the better we are to determine that and the appropriate follow up action."

With just a couple of days left of school, they are providing students access to a mental health team for any support they may need.