TOLEDO (WTOL) - Perrysburg Superintendent Thomas Hosler released a letter to families and employees on the school’s website regarding hate speech written in a high school bathroom.
Superintendent Hosler said last week the school opened an investigation into vandalism of a high school restroom that “contained, among other things, hate speech.”
“Our aim is for the schools to be a safe place. In a time where there are so many questions and fears, our staff provides that safe harbor. We will be communicating with our students offering supports for anyone who wants to talk about this or other events,” Hosler said in the letter.
He goes on to say that there “is never a place” for racism and hate speech in Perrysburg schools or the community.
The school is currently viewing surveillance video trying to nail down who is responsible, but don’t have any specific leads yet.
“We have 1,600 students in the high school,” said Tom Hosler, superintendent at Perryburg Schools. “Trying to pinpoint the time window, who had access has been a little bit of a challenge.”
Hosler said Perrysburg schools are dedicated to working with not just students, but the community in trying to make sure something like this never happens again.
He said their first step was not to hide what happened at the high school but share it with the community.
“We wanted to be a community that stood up and said this happens,” said Hosler. “It’s not right. We have a culture here that supports including and accepting all students and we have to work hard to maintain that.”
This Friday, Perrysburg Schools will be hosting a ‘Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners Conference.’
This past weekend Perrysburg was hit with another case of racism with hate speech and graffiti written on a home for sale in the area.READ MORE: Perrysburg home for sale spray painted with racist slurs, police searching for suspects
In his letter, Superintendent Hosler also reference other racist acts that have been committed around the area, such as:READ MORE: Mayor, religious leaders look to learn from racism issues at General Motors Plant READ MORE: Toledo woman charged with domestic terror plots, buying bomb-making materialsREAD MORE: Man charged with attempting to commit a hate crime after allegedly planning attacks against Toledo synagogues pleads not guilty
Below is an excerpt from his letter that he entitled “Standing Together”:
Dear Families and Employees,
Today, Perrysburg Schools stands with City Leaders and residents to condemn the hate-filled speech that was written on an area home this past weekend. This does not represent our community, its values or the culture that makes Perrysburg such a special place to live, learn and work. We stand together, united to not let this action define us.
Perrysburg Schools Board of Education is unequivocal in its mission, which reads: “Ensuring ALL students achieve their greatest potential.” To the Board, administrators, faculty and staff members, these are not just words, but a directive in how we approach our service. The schools are a mirror to our community. It is a place where people interact with those from other cultures, those who may speak a different language, have different abilities, differing sexual orientations and/or hold different religious beliefs. It is in this space that we must make sure all students feel welcome, safe and supported. This is something that we continue to incorporate, modeling tolerance and compassion. As a school community, we too are confronted with behaviors that challenge these beliefs and values. Just last week, we opened an investigation into vandalism of a school restroom that contained, among other things, hate speech. There is never a place for this in our schools or in our community. Often, the schools are where students learn the acceptable boundaries. The “Jacket Way” is more than a slogan; it’s a culture that we want all students to embrace.
Read the full letter here.
Hosler said the up-coming event is geared towards helping students understand diversity on a larger scale than just race.
There’ll be people speaking from the LGBTQ community, students with disabilities, all working to get kids on the same page when it comes to being different from one another.