A Burlingame High School staff worker covering up anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist graffiti found on an exterior wall of the school on Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo/The Burlingame B)
A Burlingame High School staff worker covering up anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist graffiti found on an exterior wall of the school on Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo/The Burlingame B)

Outbreak of anti-Semitic graffiti at Burlingame High School

The Burlingame Police Department is investigating a slew of anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist graffiti found on the walls of Burlingame High School Thursday morning.

Photos published by the Burlingame B, the school’s student newspaper, show the vandal or vandals used black spray paint which the newspaper said bore “anti-Semitic and bigoted symbols and phrases,” including swastikas and racial slurs.

The incident was described as a “severe” case with “ten to fifteen distinct sites” of vandalism spread across campus.

Maintenance workers scrambled to cover up the graffiti with black paper before students arrived on campus, later applying two coats of paint to fully cover the drawings, the newspaper reported.

One photo shows a worker scrubbing a swastika drawn on a banner with the image of a panther, the school mascot.

Burlingame High worker Victor Delaplaine scrubs a swastika from a school banner, Aug. 5, 2019. (Photo/The Burlingame B)
Burlingame High worker Victor Delaplaine scrubs a swastika from a school banner, Aug. 5, 2019. (Photo/The Burlingame B)

In an email to parents, principal Paul Belzer said an investigation was underway in collaboration with the Burlingame Police Department and the San Mateo Union High School District.

“I am outraged,” Belzer wrote. “I feel our students and school, and our school’s values of integrity and community have been attacked.”

At lunchtime, the school held an “open discussion” for students and staff to discuss the incident. “Drop-in counseling” was available for students throughout the day, Belzer said in his letter.

The act of vandalism was the second anti-Semitic and homophobic outburst at the high school this year. In April, a Jewish student’s locker was broken into, and a swastika and the word “fag” were written on it in deodorant. The perpetrator was not caught, the victim’s mother told J. Friday.

In May, the Anti-Defamation League held a town hall event on combating hate at Burlingame Middle School, where anti-Semitic bullying had been reported.

The ADL is investigating this week’s incident and would be reaching out to the high school Friday, a spokesperson said.


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Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is a J. staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.