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Anti-Semitic Graffiti Discovered At School In Area

The former site of North Garnerville Elementary School on Chapel Street in Rockland County.
The former site of North Garnerville Elementary School on Chapel Street in Rockland County. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A playground in the Hudson Valley was defaced with anti-Semitic symbols that were tagged on equipment, officials said.

Vandalism at North Garnerville Elementary School in Rockland County was recently found with swastikas spray-painted on its steps and indistinguishable lettering that was hateful toward the Jewish community.

The incident is currently being investigated as a potential hate crime by police. 

Officials noted that the area is no longer used as an active elementary school, but its playground is still frequented by local children.

“We're not sure what that means, we're not sure if it's gang-related, or some other meaning, but the one thing we do know … We always wind up finding them, and we always do prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” Town of Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips said.

Officials noted that the school has been closed for years, but the playground is still active for children living in the area.

In a statement, State Sen. James Skoufis echoed Phillips’ words, saying that they planned to determine who was responsible and would “hold them accountable.”

“This vitriolic act must be condemned to the fullest extent and the perpetrator must be held accountable for their despicable actions," he said. "I want to send a loud and clear message that anti-Semitism has absolutely no place here in the Hudson Valley.

“No one should have to bear witness to hate symbols at a playground of all places — where children go to play and experience joy,” Skoufis added. “I have full faith that local law enforcement will get to the bottom of what happened and hold accountable whoever is responsible.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added that he is directing state police to provide assistance to local law enforcement “who are investigating this heinous incident.”

“I am appalled to learn about the hateful and cowardly act of vandalism at the North Garnerville Elementary School playground,” he stated.

"I want the West Haverstraw community members and all New Yorkers to know that these anti-Semitic hate crimes have no place anywhere in our state and do not reflect our values.”

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