Residents express ‘shock’ over racist graffiti at school playground


AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Authorities in Amherst are investigating a case of racist graffiti spray-painted on a playground slide at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School.

The images scrawled across playground equipment appear to resemble a Star of David and a Nazi swastika.

“I think that’s the worst thing I ever heard,” said Carol Wilbon, a longtime resident of the neighborhood.

“I know this did not have anything to do with anybody in this neighborhood. This had to come from somewhere else and be done because we never had problems like this,” said Wilbon.

Amherst Central Schools superintendent Anthony Panella says an alert community member notified law enforcement authorities Monday evening.

“In working with the Amherst Police department there is an ongoing investigation going on. We are assisting them in any way possible,” said Panella, who also sent out a letter updating parents about the incident.

Panella tells News 4 that he’s proud of how the community and district staff responded to the graffiti incident.

“I was proud that our community stepped forward and reported this to the police immediately, and that our facilities staff took quick action to remove the graffiti,” he said.

As word of the incident traveled around the neighborhood, some residents say they’re left feeling a bit unsettled.

“I’m shocked,” said Susan Harris, who lives a few blocks away from the playground.

“I lived in this neighborhood for a long, long time and there’s never been any accidents, break-ins, don’t know. I’m just a little shocked to see that,” she said.

Panella says the district will continue to “emphasize the importance of diversity and acceptance” within the school community.

“Historically our community is proud of the diversity of families that attend our schools, and our neighborhood playgrounds are there for the enjoyment of our families, and we want to make sure that they’re safe and secure so our kids and families can enjoy them,” he said.

As for the investigation, Amherst Police did not immediately respond to phone calls from News 4.

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