Peterborough police investigating vandalism at elementary school as hate bias crime

'Anti-black, homophobic and other profane messages' spray painted at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School sometime over weekend

St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School is located at 1575 Glenforest Boulevard in Peterborough. (Photo: St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School)
St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School is located at 1575 Glenforest Boulevard in Peterborough. (Photo: St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School)

Peterborough police are investigating an act of vandalism at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School at 1575 Glenforest Boulevard that they have classified as a hate bias crime.

The vandalism took place sometime over the weekend and was discovered by school staff on Monday (May 9) before the start of the school day.

“School staff arrived early this morning to find anti-black, homophobic and other profane messages spray painted on the exterior of the school and portables,” reads an email from acting school principal Karen Procyk sent to parents on Monday. “Fortunately, school staff were able to cover the messages before students arrived this morning.”

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Procyk adds the board’s facility services would work to remove the graffiti as soon as possible.

“As a school community dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive, and loving learning environment, we are shocked and saddened that this has occurred,” Procyk’s email reads. “Whether the vandalism was perpetrated by someone outside our school community or within, we take this opportunity to fully condemn racism, homophobia, discrimination and hate in all its forms.”

“Our school board is committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination and to embed equity and inclusive education, anti-racism, human rights, and Indigenous education into all its policies, procedures, programs, operations, and practices.”

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“This sort of activity is not only disappointing to see but has no place in our community,” says acting police chief Tim Farquharson in a statement.

“We know that many groups including the police service are working in their own ways to foster a more inclusive and accepting community. We are committed to continuing those efforts.”

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact the school, the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 x555, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.stopcrimehere.ca.