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More graffiti reported in Danvers

Town officials say they won't release more statements about incidents of hate speech in town.

Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Danvers community members gathered for a vigil Saturday in response to the recent spate of antisemitic graffiti at Holten-Richmond Middle School and reports of hazing by the 2019-20 Danvers High School boys hockey team.

After discovering more offensive graffiti in town, Danvers officials have decided to stop issuing statements about it.

“Our fear is that the constant attention created by doing so is simply encouraging more of the same, which in some cases simply may be attention-seeking and in others truly may be statements of hate intended to do harm,” according to a statement from several town officials, including the police chief, superintendent, and select board chair.

Officials said a resident reported homophobic graffiti at the softball field on Pickering Street on Sunday.

This latest incident follows several other instances of hate speech in the town’s schools.

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Last week, a swastika was found in a Danvers High bathroom. The same week the school indefinitely suspended its wrestling team for a racially-charged fight and a group Snapchat with “references to hazing and hateful and biased language.”

A month earlier, racist, antisemitic, and homophobic graffiti was found in a Holten Richmond Middle School bathroom.

The day before, school leaders came under fire for how they handled allegations of racist and homophobic misconduct on the 2019-2020 Danvers High boys’ varsity hockey team.

While officials say they won’t be issuing statements about future incidents, they did say they will continue to “document and investigate them” as well as report them to the “appropriate authorities.”

The School Department also detailed plans to address diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the meantime, officials asked parents to talk to their kids about the “power of words” this holiday season.

“Especially how words and statements rooted in homophobia, racism, antisemitism, bullying, etc., can do real harm,” according to the statement.

Officials suggest the Anti-Defamation League’s Table Talk: Family Conversations as a starting point.

According to the statement, the town is seeking help from several groups — including the Lappin Foundation in Salem, the Anti-Defamation League of Boston, the Essex County Community Foundation, and the North Shore NAACP — and is hiring its first director of equity & inclusion.

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