Brookline High School officials discovered graffiti on picnic tables in Cypress Field last Friday. The Brookline police are investigating the incident because the graffiti was deemed to be racist and homophobic with graphic depictions of body parts.
This is just the latest incident involving bias at the school. Last June, one day after a white supremacist murdered nine black members of a Bible study group in Charleston, S.C., students in a BHS chemistry class were subjected to expletives and a racial slur within a PowerPoint presentation shown by four classmates. A few months later, a Brookline police officer was involved in an altercation with four BHS students of color.
Former headmaster Deb Holman resigned from the school in June. At the time of her hiring four years ago at Brookline High School, the school district faced a racial discrimination lawsuit from then Dean of Students Adrian Mims, who claimed that he was passed up for the job because he was black. Mims then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) after Holman was given the job. Mims reportedly settled out of court for $80,000. As reported in The Sagamore, Mims resigned from Brookline High School in 2013 and was under good terms with Holman.
Brookline High School Interim Headmaster Anthony Meyer wrote the following email to parents on Monday regarding the latest graffiti incident.
A message from BROOKLINE HIGH SCHOOL
Dear BHS Parents and Guardians,
I write to let you know about an unfortunate discovery last Friday and what we are doing in response. On Friday afternoon after school, an administrator found disturbing graffiti on the Cypress Field picnic tables used by both BHS students and the larger Brookline community. We inspected all the tables, found deeply disturbing graffiti on some, and removed these tables for the Parks and Open Space department so that they can be cleaned.
We contacted the police and have begun our own investigation into this incident, based on initial fact-finding and interviews. Our hope is that students with information about who might be responsible for this transgression will come forward.
As frustrated and offended as I feel, we will use this as an opportunity for reflection about who we are as a school, who we want to be, and our role as leaders in the Brookline Community.