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Vandals target Portland's Cleveland High School with hate speech graffiti

Doors and windows at the school and the field, track and benches at the school's stadium were spray painted. A swastika was painted on the front doors of the school.
Credit: John Helm, KGW
Cleveland High School in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Hate speech graffiti, including a swastika, was spray painted on doors and windows at Cleveland High School and the field, track and benches at the school's stadium over the weekend, Portland Public Schools (PPS) confirmed to KGW on Monday.

The vandals also spray painted names of people associated with the Southeast Portland school, Cleveland High School Principal Jo Ann Wadkins said in a letter sent to parents. PPS said it has reached out and informed those people they were the subject of the graffiti.

PPS said the graffiti on surfaces like doors and benches has been painted over or covered, but the district said it will take longer to cover or remove the graffiti at the stadium field.

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The district also notified Portland police and district security.

"Hate is not tolerated nor accepted in our community," Wadkins said in the letter to parents. "This incident is an affront to our core values of Racial Equity and Social Justice, Respect, Honesty and Integrity. We value and respect everyone in our school community and understand that our diversity makes us stronger. Everyone is welcome at Cleveland High School and everyone belongs. Every student deserves a positive educational experience where they feel safe, secure and a sense of belonging."

Wadkins also directly addressed the school's Jewish students and families.

"To our Jewish community at Cleveland, please know that our community is better because of your presence and you deserve an educational experience free from harassment and hate speech," Wadkins said in the letter.

The school said it has support from the district Monday and the school's counselor and social worker are available for students.

"I assure you that we are addressing this incident with all available resources," Wadkins said in the letter.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact school or district staff or call the Portland Police Bureau's non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.

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