An investigation is underway after a swastika was found in a locker room at a Lawrence ice rink this week.
Police said a local school superintendent contacted them after someone used a hockey puck to draw a swastika on a shower wall at the Lawrence Valley Forum.
Peggy Shukur, Interim Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, responded to the incident.
“That swastika is a symbol of hate that’s a heinous and a horrible reminder to people of the Jewish faith but also many other groups who were targeted by the Nazis,” she said.
This discovery comes as incidents of antisemitism are on the rise.
The Anti-Defamation League’s most recent data found incidents increased by 34 percent nationally, 42 percent in New England and 48 percent in Massachusetts from 2020 to 2021.
The swastika incident was reported to North Andover High School’s administration on Tuesday after their hockey team used the facility. The school district’s superintendent said he contacted North Andover police. Lawrence police were also notified since the incident happened within Lawrence.
After investigating, authorities said they found no crime was committed.
“These hate incidents don’t rise to the level of crimes but they are so impactful and so harmful to members of the entire community who are targeted,” Shukur said.
North Andover High School’s principal and superintendent Gregg Gilligan said in a letter to families that the school district is “committed to maintaining a school environment, including school sponsored events, that are free of discrimination.”
“Words and symbols of intolerance and hate are wrong, unacceptable and should not have a place in our society,” Principal Chet Jackson and Superintendent Gilligan wrote.
School administrators were handling the investigation into this incident as of Wednesday. They will ultimately decide on any kind of discipline.
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