WAYLAND, Mass. — Eight hours after police discovered racist graffiti on the Wayland Community Pool building that sits just feet away from the high school’s campus, Spencer Ryan and his twin brother Owen, came out to protest.
”Why would somebody do this, anyway,” said Owen.
Police said someone spray painted the words, Omar, with a racial slur apparently targeting the town’s School Superintendent, Dr. Omar Easy.
In the last few months, Easy, the former NFL player has been the target of an investigation by the school committee over allegations he used intimidating language in a meeting with school administrators in October. Easy has denied those charges.
Whatever Easy’s troubles with the school committee, in a joint statement, town officials denounced the graffiti. “The person or people found responsible for this hateful message will be held accountable,” said Acting Police Chief Ed Burman.
Wayland School Committee Chair Chris Ryan released this statement: “I denounce this clear and blatant act of racism. This incident goes against the core values of our community, and it undermines our continuing work in building an inclusive environment for each and every person in the community.”
Chief Burman said they are consulting with the Anti-Defamation League of New England -- which also condemned the graffiti. “Acts of racism and hate, particularly so close to a school, seek to intimidate and instill fear in the community and individuals targeted by this hate,” said Peggy Shukur of the ADL.
Jen Ryan, Spencer and Owen’s Mom, and a teacher said it was important for her boys to protest the graffiti.
“As a Mom and as an educator, it is important that we are teaching all of our children to be allies,” she said. “And that when they see something that is not just they stand up and they speak out.”
Ryan called Wayland a ‘wonderful town’ that will, no doubt, react appropriately to the racist graffiti.
But Ben Clifford, who lives across the street from the Community Pool, worries that racism may be something entrenched in suburban communities.
“I think this is a whole town issue,” said Clifford, who attended Wayland High School for his freshman year in 2018, but then transferred out. “I’m not overly shocked by it because I think in predominantly white towns like Wayland there are people who are kind of not exposed to diversity.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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