By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s Jewish community is condemning two separate vandalisms at Denver schools. Antisemitic, racist and homophobic graffiti was spray painted on George Washington High School on South Monaco Parkway.

The graffiti was found on the school building, athletic field buildings and equipment and on the outdoor running track.

(credit: CBS)

Peole from the group JEWISHcolorado called the crimes alarming and extensive.

“Vandalism and hate speech of this kind are alarming and make students of all backgrounds feel unsafe in the school environment,” said Rabbi Jay Strear, President and CEO of JEWISHcolorado.

They support a student club at the school called Jewish Connection.

“It’s painful. It’s distressing and unfortunately our students tend to be at the center of this kind of hatred.

“We will do everything we can to support the school leadership and its student body to heal from these destructive and hateful acts and we thank dr. Kristin waters, gw principal for her strong and swift condemnation of this vandalism and for her unwavering commitment to her students’ wellbeing.”

The Anti-Defamation League says at least one vandal also broke windows and cut electricity to the Denver Academy of Torah. A community member confronted a suspect who reportedly shouted antisemitic slurs.

While police have not said whether the two crime scenes are connected, JEWISHcolorado say it appears they are not.

ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin issued the following statement:

It is deeply disturbing that a Jewish school and a public high school were targeted with vandalism and hateful graffiti overnight in Denver. We extend our support to the students, teachers and staff at both schools. We recognize that the impact of these incidents extends beyond the school communities to the wider community. This type of hateful behavior will not be tolerated in our community. All students, whether they attend a religious school or a public school, deserve to learn in an environment free of intimidation and intolerance.

ADL says hate crimes and antisemitic crimes are on the rise in Colorado.

Levin cited a recent report from the FBI that he says shows hate crimes in our state went up 34% from 2019 to 2020 and reached the highest level reported in the last 30 years.

Among the largest jumps, he says, were antisemitic crimes.

“Certainly, what was over at George Washington High School with the language and the graffiti and the amount of swastikas drawn it was very antisemitic,” Levin said.

Karen Morfitt