Wayland Police are investigating an incident of racist graffiti spray-painted on the building facing Wayland High School Wednesday targeting the school superintendent Omar Easy.
“We do not tolerate any acts of hate in Wayland, and we want to reassure our community that we are taking this incident very seriously,” Acting Police Chief Burman said in a release. “The person or people found responsible for this hateful message will be held accountable.”
The vandal wrote Omar and a racial slur on the side of the Wayland Community Pool across from the high school. The message was reported to authorities around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
As of Thursday afternoon, Burman said, the culprits have not been identified, but both the department and Wayland Public Schools are investigating. The department said they’ve also been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League of New England.
The community has seen an outpouring of outrage since the incident. Many students posted signs of support for the superintendent around the area Wednesday, and students and parents gathered across from the school to rally against the message Thursday morning.
“This incident goes against the core values of our community, and it undermines our continuing work in building an inclusive environment for each and every person in the community,” said School Committee Chair Chris Ryan.
Easy, a former NFL fullback who holds a PhD educational leadership from Penn State, took the position in July 2021 and is the predominately-white district’s first Black superintendent.
Beyond just Easy, advocates said, the message has a harmful impact on the “increasing diverse” Wayland student body.
“I hope the person who did this can see the hurt that he or she caused to (Superintendent Easy), to students of color and to the entire Wayland school community,” said Milly Arbaje-Thomas, President and CEO of the school diversity organization METCO. “Furthermore, if leaders of color don’t feel welcomed and supported, then how can students expect to be safe?”
The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents said that this incident isn’t isolated.
“Unfortunately, we are experiencing increasing numbers of incidents where people weaponize language against others based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” Executive Director Thomas Scott said in a release. … “Today’s incident is an act of blatant racial aggression and demands we all stand up against such an act of hate.”
The department asked that anyone with information on the incident contact Wayland Police at 508-358-4721.