Several local officials and the sheriff have spoken out after swastikas and vulgar words were found spray-painted onto the side of Seth Paine Elementary School in Lake Zurich on the last day of Hanukkah.
“I was deeply saddened to learn that an elementary school in one of our Lake County communities was vandalized with swastikas. Messages of hate do not reflect who we are as a county, and I join with other community leaders in condemning them in the strongest possible way,” Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said.
“Whenever there are instances of hate in our community, it is incumbent upon us to speak out and denounce them, and remind people that those messages go against the very core of our values,” Hart said.
The Lake Zurich Police Department responded to Seth Paine school, located at 50 West Miller Road, around 8:47 a.m. Monday.
Lake Zurich Deputy Police Chief David Anderson said that an unknown offender or offenders spray-painted the words “poop”, “Trump 2020” with an X through it, “Joe Biden 2020”, and several vulgar words onto the building.
Several swastikas and male genitalia were also sprayed painted onto the building and playground equipment, Anderson added.
Lake County Board member Jessica Vealitzek lives near the school and posted a photo of the graffiti on the building Monday morning.
“I almost didn’t post this because I don’t want to give voice. But count me on the side for calling these ignorant, racist, bigoted fools out. (And if they are simply ignorant children, where are they learning it, parents?),” Vealitzek said.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said that he has seen division and hate in Lake County this year. “I’ve seen hate filled crimes committed based on the color of one’s skin, based on a person’s religion, and I’ve seen negativity toward other protected classes,” Idleburg said.
“I grieve with our Jewish community. I stand with all of our religious communities, all races, creeds, sexual orientation, the young, the elderly, and everyone in between – as do the members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office,” Idleburg added.
Police believe the vandalism occurred after 2 p.m. Saturday and before 8 a.m. Monday. Responding officers collected evidence at the scene and are reviewing potential video footage of the crime, Anderson said.
“Elementary schools are supposed to be places for young minds to learn and grow, not to be places to spew hatred,” AJC Chicago Director Laurence A. Bolotin said.
“As we enter 2020, people of good conscience should be coming together and standing up against hateful acts like this vandalism or the violent attack we saw in Monsey over the weekend. We cannot let this become the new normal.”
Lake Zurich Community School District 95 was made aware of the damage and crews have since removed the spray-paint. Detectives continue to investigate the incident.