A Dwight-Englewood high school student suspected of leaving anti-Semitic, anti-black, and anti-head-of-school graffiti in campus bathrooms this week and last is “no longer at the school,” according to Elizabeth Tausner, the Englewood private school’s director of communications.
The first incident of graffiti was discovered by students last Friday, March 1. They notified the administration, which on the next school day, Tuesday, March 5, addressed the incident in a school-wide assembly.
“It’s not acceptable within the schools mission statement,” Ms. Tausner said of the graffiti. The school’s mission statement calls on students to “embrace diversity.”
However, the school assembly did not prevent further incidents. Later that day, offensive graffiti was discovered in two other bathrooms, this time directly targeting Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett, the head of school.
Dr. De Jarnett beefed up school security measures, and brought in the Englewood police to investigate.
The next day, the suspected perpetrator was no longer at the school.
The Englewood police continue to investigate. No charges have yet been filed, for what is being investigated as a bias crime, and the student’s name is not being released.
Ms. Tausner said that Dwight Englewood student groups concerned with diversity, including Jewish Awareness at Dwight Englewood and the D-E Black Affinity Group, got together to discuss the situation.
“It was inspiring to see the leaders and members of JADE meeting on their own to pull together with the Black Affinity Group student leaders to have that conversation,” Ms. Tausner said.
“Our students believe in and embrace our mission of appreciating diversity,” Ms. Tausner said. “It’s very encouraging if you just listen to the students talk about how they believe that this was an act of hate against all of us. Our students really do walk the talk. They embrace the message of understanding that our head of school is communicating.”
The graffiti “is not who we are,” she said.