Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found at Watertown Middle School

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Watertown Middle School

Watertown Middle School

School officials are investigating anti-Semitic graffiti that was found at Watertown Middle School, and have been holding conversations with students about the incident. This is the second such incident in the district this year.

Superintendent Dede Galdston told the School Committee about the incident at Monday’s meeting. A swastika was found in a boys bathroom at the middle school, Galdston said. It was removed promptly after being discovered.

“This offensive action is an affront to our core values as a District and it particularly upsetting as this coincides with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah,” Galdston said in a letter to the community. “We take hateful actions, words, and deeds such as this very seriously, and will not tolerate the anti-Semitism that this represents within our schools.”

Earlier this year, an anti-Semitic symbol was discovered at Cunniff Elementary School, Galdston said.

This week, students at Watertown Middle School discussed the incident, and what it represents, during their advisory blocks about  during their advisory blocks.

WMS Principal Donna Martin, Assistant Principal Jason DelPorto, and School Resource Officer Miguel Colon conducted an investigation but have not yet been able determine who was responsible for the act.

Galdston stressed that the act “violates our core values of Equity and Community, specifically as described below:

  • Equity — We ensure access to a welcoming and safe environment for all students, parents, and families.
  • Community — We celebrate the contributions of each individual to our inclusive, diverse community.

Galdston encouraged parents to discuss the incident with their children.

“Please take this opportunity to speak with your children at home to reinforce that the Watertown Public School Community is a caring community that wants all of our children to feel safe and joyful when coming to school and that this incident is a violation of our core values,” Galdston said.

After the incident at Cunniff, school officials reached out to the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the Facing History and Ourselves organization. 

“We will be working with Facing History and Ourselves as the Middle School currently utilizes their curriculum and the work that has been done at the Cunniff in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves has been well received,” Galdston wrote.

The district has also formed an Anti-Bias Coalition, which will meet on Dec. 17, “to continue a broad discussion of ways to reduce the likelihood of future events such as this happening in our school community,” Galdston said.

Anyone interested in being part of the Anti-Bias Coalition, please send an email to my the Superintendent’s Administrative Assistant, Renee Ruggiero, at

12 thoughts on “Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found at Watertown Middle School

  1. Obviously we cannot allow acts of Antisemitism to go unaddressed. Certainly the ADL, is the organization best known for fighting such acts. However, as late as 2007 the ADL was lobbying Congress, at the behest of Turkey through Israel in order to prevent a resolution that would have the United States official recognize the Armenian Genocide.
    The ADL even refused to call it genocide Finally, after Watertown took action to disentangle itself from the No Place for Hate program, run by the ADL, then President Abraham Foxman, made the following statement:

    “We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.”

    Note that Foxman didn’t call it genocide … he said the: “the **consequences of those actions** were indeed tantamount to genocide.” The operative phrase is consequences of those actions. That doesn’t imply intent to commit genocide, it just happened as a side effect. Sort of like overeating leads to obesity junk food. But the person overeating junk food isn’t doing it with the intention of getting fat. And then of course, he didn’t even say that consequences of those actions were genocide.. He said they were tantamount to genocide.

    He then began to back peddle almost immediately when Turkey expressed outrage and even recalled their ambassador to Israel.

    Foxman is no longer President. The current President is Jonathan Greenblatt.
    I have no idea what the current position of the ADL is vis-a-vi the Armenian Genocide.
    The Geopolitical situation has also changed. While Israel and Turkey still have diplomatic relations, they are quite a bit colder.
    But with such a large Armenian population in Watertown, I would hope that School Officials would inquire both of the ADL and Armenian Leaders in the Watertown Community.

    I have no issue with the wonderful work that ADL does fighting Antisemitism, or the work it does defending the State of Israel in the public arena. If the ADL has sincerely and unequivocally recognized the Armenian Genocide, then I wholeheartedly praise them for doing so. And certainly they would the experts on Antisemitism to call on for assistance.

  2. To Watertown and its officials and citizens:

    As Chair of the locally-based Armenian Americans for Human Rights (AAHR), I am deeply concerned that Watertown would invite in the ADL for anything after having thrown it out in 2007.

    The AAHR objects in the strongest terms.

    A few months ago, AAHR sent a letter to all Watertown officials, including all town council members, describing in detail that the ADL has not fully come to grips with its horrible record on the Armenian Genocide.

    The letter also described the ADL’s terrible human rights record in general.

    Watertown must not bring back the ADL. Other human rights groups may be acceptable, but not the ADL.

    AAHR expects Watertown and its schools to act in a principled manner consistent with its regard for all its citizens, including Armenian American citizens, and its decision to sever ties with the ADL in 2007.

    David Boyajian, Chair,
    Armenian Americans for Human Rights

  3. No way is Watertown bringing back the ADL. This is not a human rights group. They were thrown out once for good reason and it must stay that way.

  4. The ADL’s immoral position on the Armenian Genocide and selective approach to fighting genocide and other crimes have proven that it is not a voice for humanity and justice for all. A genuine human rights organization would never deny a major genocide.

    This is why the Massachusetts Municipal Association and more than a dozen cities statewide including Watertown severed ties with the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” program in 2007-2008.

    The ADL has stated that denial or diminishment of the Jewish Holocaust is anti-Semitism — in other words, hate. Using the ADL’s own definition, it is fair to regard the ADL as a hate group against Armenians because for decades the organization unapologetically has conducted backdoor lobbying attempts in Washington, DC and elsewhere to bury the veracity of the Armenian Genocide and hurt the advancement of the Armenian Cause for reparations and homeland recovery.

    The ADL has only informally recognized the Armenian Genocide in a 2016 blog post. It still has not kept its promise of supporting congressional resolutions on the Genocide.

    The ADL and its programs should be rejected in every municipality, school and institution across America.

  5. One kid, one swastika, let’s not get crazy about a single act of “hate” since he/she does not have a clue as to what this symbol represents. If they find out who did it there will only be a slap on the wrist anyway.

    • There is a big difference between a swastika and a graffiti tag. It is about the same as the difference between a benign boil and a malignant tumor. A swastika, because of the genocide associated with it, is not to be taken lightly. Perhaps it was the work of a child who doesn’t know the symbol’s meaning–let us hope that is the case–but they must be taught about the gross inhumanity it represents. If the child did know, then you have to blame the adults around them.

  6. Please click on the link below and read the article.

    You will then fully understand why an agreement some very misguided, politically ambitious Armenians made with the ADL 2 years has been broken by the ADL, and why the ADL should not be brought back into Watertown.

    I assure you that you will never think the same way about the ADL ever again.

    Please also look at the front cover: The ADL head at the time, Abraham Foxman, is giving an award to Turkey’s anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli dictator, Mr. Erdogan.

    Dear Watertown: What will happen when your students find out about the ADL? They will wonder what is wrong with the town’s officials.

  7. The ADL is a disgrace ignoring the Armenian genocide and plight of the Palestinian people who have been slaughtered and had their land stolen.
    Not to mention this is just some little sh*thead kid who has no clue and just thought it was funny and edgy.

    • That’s what the Jews in Germany thought too and now there are 6,000,000 less of them.
      The Palestinians are controlled by Hamas that wants to eliminate the Israeli Jews. How do you negotiate with terrorists who hand out candy every time a Jew is killed?

  8. That’s right….hate is never allright…like how Israel is armiug Azerbaijan to drop missiles and bombs on innocent civilian Armenians in Artsakh….are we hearing about deaths like that as often as we are hearing about graffiti?

    • Thank you, everyone, for your comments. This is obviously a heated topic, that touches on other areas, and we are not going to get everyone to agree. How about some thoughts about what the schools/town should do in response to the incident.
      Charlie (editor)

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