Boy charged with hate crime in Sousa elementary swastika case

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An individual has been arrested in connection with swastika graffiti at Sousa Elementary School (Photo courtesy of the Port Washington Police District)

Police arrested a boy who’s suspected of spray-painting two swastikas on Port Washington’s John Philip Sousa Elementary School and charged him with a hate crime, officials said.

The boy — whom Port Washington police and school officials did not identify by name — was charged with first-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree criminal mischief as a hate-crime in connection with the antisemitic vandalism.

Port Washington school Superintendent Michael Hynes announced the boy’s arrest Thursday, a day after police released photos of the spray-painting suspect.

Cops received information through their tip line that helped identify the boy after the photos were published, Port Washington police said.

“I’m incredibly proud of our staff and students for being instrumental throughout the process of identifying a student and peer to protect our community,” Hynes said in a statement calling the swastikas that appeared on the evening of April 25 a “reprehensible and hateful act of antisemitism.”

Hynes said the district would continue to work with the police and the Nassau County District Attorney’s office as the investigation continued.

Hynes cited confidentiality laws in declining to identify the boy. He added that the district would not comment on the perpetrator any further.

“As a school district and community, we must remain resolute in our commitment to zero tolerance of bigotry, hatred and discrimination in any and all of its forms,” Hynes wrote. “From our classrooms to our homes, we must continue to engage in dialogue to educate our children on the impact of such hateful acts and their repercussions. The district is focused on next steps to better confront this within our schools at a much deeper level.”

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