A Denver high school was targeted with graffiti displaying “messages of hate, antisemitism, racism and homophobia” over the weekend, and a Jewish private school had a window smashed and its electricity cut off, officials said.
Officials say the vandalism occurred at George Washington High School, 655 S. Monaco Parkway, late Saturday and at Denver Academy of the Torah, 6825 E. Alameda Ave., on Sunday evening.
“We will not tolerate this reprehensible act of hate in our community and condemn these actions,” George Washington High School Principal Kristin Waters wrote in an email to parents on Monday, announcing the graffiti.
Swastikas and hate speech were spray painted on the main school, athletic field buildings and equipment and on the surface of the outdoor running track, according to a statement from JEWISHcolorado, a nonprofit that connects and supports members of the Jewish community and that operates a student club at George Washington High School.
It was an “extensive act of vandalism,” JEWISHcolorado regional security advisor Phil Niedringhaus said in the statement after visiting the school.
Within a few blocks of George Washington are Temple Emanuel, the Jewish Community Center, the Mizel Museum, observant neighborhoods and other centers of east Denver’s Jewish community.
Suspects have not been identified, according to Waters. Staff at the high school officials became aware of the crime Monday morning, she wrote.
The district’s maintenance team was onsite on Monday cleaning the graffiti before students return to school on Tuesday. Denver police are investigating.
“We are doing everything possible to identify who is responsible for this horrific hate crime,” Waters wrote to parents.
Meanwhile, a window was smashed at Denver Academy of Torah late Sunday, according to a statement from the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region.
A suspect or suspects hurled rocks through windows and damaged an electrical box, according to a statement from Denver police.
Someone also shouted an antisemitic slur at a neighbor who confronted them, the statement from the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region noted.
“It is deeply disturbing that a Jewish school and a public high school were targeted with vandalism and hateful graffiti overnight in Denver,” regional director Scott Levin said in the statement. “This type of hateful behavior will not be tolerated in our community.”
Investigators are trying to determine whether the incidents are connected, the statement from Denver police said.
Anyone with information about the graffiti at George Washington High School can use Safe2Tell to file an anonymous report by calling or texting 877-542-7233 or by visiting safe2tell.org or using the tip line’s mobile app. Additionally, anyone with information about either act of vandalism can anonymously call Denver Police at 720-913-7867(STOP).