Swastikas and racist graffiti found at Evanston middle school

A staff member at Nichols Middle School found the messages in a bathroom. It is the second time in recent weeks that racist messages have been found on school grounds in the district.

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Nichols Middle School, 800 Greenleaf St. in Evanston.

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Swastikas and racist graffiti were found at a bathroom in a school in Evanston, just weeks after nooses were found at another school in the north suburb. 

The swastikas were written in marker and were found in a boys bathroom on the third floor Thursday, Evanston police said. The racist language was directed toward people of “mixed ethnicity” and also written in marker in a girls bathroom on the second floor.

“These incidents have a long-lasting effect on our students, staff and families,” Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Supt. Dr. Devon Horton said in a message to the community. “We cannot allow this type of harm to continue without repercussion and repair.”

In May, three nooses were found hanging from a tree near Haven Middle School and Kingsley Elementary after students at Haven had staged a sit-in to protest staffing changes. 

Notes in support of the Haven educators being transferred to other schools were also left near the nooses, Horton said at the time, although it’s unclear where they were found. 

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss said in a statement Friday that it was “disheartening to see these symbols in our community and unacceptable for our children to be exposed to these hateful messages at school.”

Police said the two incidents were unrelated. 

“Our community is still reeling from the hateful act of nooses being hung outside of Haven and Kingsley schools only a few short weeks ago,” Horton said Thursday. “And now, to find swastikas, a symbol of terror and hatred toward the Jewish community, we are reminded once again that antisemitism, racism, and white supremacy are alive and well within our community.”

Horton said the district is working with its mental health team to ensure students who may need support at Nichols and across the district get help in “processing the situation.” 

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