Toronto police are investigating the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti outside schools in three city neighborhoods.
In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said the force had received three reports of anti-Semitic gaffiti outside of schools in three different divisions.
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“We are investigating and our dedicated hate crimes unit is engaged,” Ramer said in the statement.
He said hate crimes are a “top priority” for Toronto police.
“And we are committed to fighting hate in our city,” Ramer wrote.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for the force, Const. Alex Li, said the incidents were being treated as “motivated by hate”.
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Li said officers received a report around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday of anti-Semitic language outside the Central Technical School.
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Hours later, at 10:05 a.m., Li said the force received another report of anti-Semitic language outside the Rosedale Heights School of the Arts.
Minutes later, at 10:20 a.m., Li said the force received another report that anti-Semitic language had been found on a container on the grounds of Malvern Collegiate Institute.
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According to Li, because of the similarities in each incident, investigators are “exploring if they are related.”
In an emailed statement to Global News on Wednesday, Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson Ryan Bird said “the hateful vandalism appears to have happened overnight.”
“We are working with the Toronto Police to provide all possible assistance as they continue to investigate these incidents which are harmful and completely unacceptable on or off school property,” Bird said in the email. .
The news comes after several other schools in the city reported anti-Semitic incidents in recent weeks.
On February 8, two students were reported to have depicted swastikas and performed the “Hitler salute” in front of their classmates at a college in North York.
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On the same day, another college said it had assigned a teacher to stay home after allegedly comparing the forced wearing of the yellow Star of David during the Holocaust to COVID-19 restrictions.
Additionally, it was reported that anti-Semitic graffiti had been discovered at another middle school and students had performed the “Hitler salute” to their Jewish French teacher.
Last week, the TDSB said it would provide more information about the Holocaust to its middle and high school students due to the influx of anti-Semitic incidents.
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