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Neighborhood Denounces Racist Graffiti

South Boston Neighborhood Denounces Racist Graffiti At Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School

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Tynan School Principal Leslie Gant greets arriving young students to reassure them that the school stands for inclusion and respect.
Marilyn Schairer/WGBH News
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Neighborhood Denounces Racist Graffiti

The South Boston community came together Friday morning to denounce racist graffiti found earlier this week at Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School.

In a show of support for the school, students were greeted as they got off the bus by a line of waving parents, community leaders, and residents who wanted to send a message of respect and inclusion and that hate speech and discrimination won’t be tolerated.

Thaddeus Miles, of the Boston youth program My Brother’s Keeper, came to the school to offer peace love and support to the students and teachers.
“It’s a pathway to unity and I think it got the opposite effect of what the person who wrote those particular things expected," he said.

Logan Thompson, a black custodian at Tynan Elementary School, discovered the racist messages early Wednesday morning. He says he felt he was the target of the hateful messages because they included the year, make and model of his car. The Tynan school has a culturally and academically diverse student population. The student body is about 40 percent black. The school enrolls children in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Boston’s Interim Superintendent of Schools, Laura Perille, says the city will stand up against bias and hate speech. “I think this reaction shows we cannot tolerate this here in Boston, regardless of the negative national environment."

Perille said after the incident occurred the school used age appropriate language to teach students about mean words and their impact.

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marilyn schairer/WGBH News

City Councilor Ed Flynn is among those condemning the racial epithets spray painted on the building, “what happened was a terrible, criminal act. it won't be tolerated but this neighborhood is coming together.”

Ashley Mahanama has children of her own and says we all can all learn from this incident, “We're all really against hate," said Mahanama, “and that is has no home here in Southie ... that people from every background I look around and I see people from every background in Southie and that makes me so happy ... all these Southie people are here together because that's not what Southie is.”

The Boston Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says whoever is responsible will be punished with the full penalty the laws allows.

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