Your View (site blog, not mine personally)

Your View is the place for opinion at It is the site's only blog. Please submit your opinions to be considered for publication on this site. The best opinions are those supported by facts. You cannot expect to be published if your views lack factual support or if you make personal attacks. For your views to be published, your full, real name is required.

14 offered restorative justice in vandalism, hate speech at AHS

The following is a statement from Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Police Chief Frederick Ryan, Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie; David Swanson, Naomi Greenfield, Human Rights Commission cochairs; and Anna Watson, LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission chairwoman:

AHS wall: love, May 2, 2018A brick wall at Arlington High reflects approved student graffiti, aimed at combating slurs on May 3, the day a student fund-raiser began.

Two weeks ago, a disturbing discovery of criminal vandalism and hate speech was made at Arlington High School.

Arlington Police responded to the incident on Wednesday, May 2, at 5:42 a.m. to investigate a report of damage and graffiti. Investigating police officers noted that someone or a group of people had entered the building, likely overnight. Several fire extinguishers had been used and damaged, and there was damage to vending machines, display cases, and an emergency defibrillator inside the school. Spray paint was also used inside and outside of the school.

One swastika and two anti-gay slurs were painted outside of the building.

The police department and school district opened an investigation and 14 male students were quickly identified as the suspects responsible for the break-in, vandalism and hate speech.

Reflecting on this situation, identifying those responsible for these acts was a matter of investigatory procedure. The difficult task now lay in determining the proper response and consequences for those responsible – be it any combination of punishment, restitution, and repair of the breach of peace, security, and sense of safety in the community.

'Deeply upsetting'

What occurred earlier this month was deeply upsetting on a multitude of levels, and it does not represent either the image we have in mind for our community or the beliefs of our residents and young people. While the actions of a few students are truly heinous, we have the chance now to emerge stronger than ever before as a community, and the plan our leadership team has put forward says in a clear voice that we intend to do just that.

In the hours and days after the incident, we have been overwhelmed by the amazingly positive response from the rest of the students at Arlington High School and really the entire community as a whole. Messages of hate were immediately replaced en masse by messages of love, tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.

We immediately turned to the members of the Arlington Human Rights Commission and the newly-formed Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, as well as our long-term trusted partners in the Anti-Defamation League to determine the best course of action.

Founding member

Arlington is a founding member of the organization Communities for Restorative Justice, a non-profit collaboration of communities and police departments that offers restorative justice to those affected by crime. The organization’s “circle” process recognizes that crime is a violation of people and relationships, not just a violation of law. Newly passed legislation on Beacon Hill expands the restorative justice model and authorizes its use to deal with certain cases.

The Arlington Police Department has reached out to all 14 offenders and their families and has offered each the opportunity to go through the restorative justice process, which exists in three phases:

-- Victims of crime are given the opportunity to address those who have harmed them, to ask questions in a safe environment, and to share ideas on ways that the harm can be repaired.

-- Offenders better understand the impact of their actions, are held accountable, make financial restitution and encouraged to make amends to those they have harmed.

-- The community offers support for the process, strengthening community connections, and engaging in matters of concern to its members.

Most importantly, restorative justice requires buy-in from both the offenders and the victims in a given situation. The offenders would be working directly with members of the school community, Jewish community, and LGBTQIA+ community on a long-term process.

Unwilling to participate?

Those not willing to participate in the restorative process will have their case prosecuted in court.

Restorative justice will allow the suspects to right their wrongs without receiving a criminal record or a court arraignment that could follow them for lives. The students still face individual discipline from the Arlington Public Schools including suspension and exclusion from senior and other school events.

We recognize that it is faster and easier to arrest and prosecute these individuals rather than go through the restorative justice process, which requires more of a commitment from the offender. However, we believe that this proposed solution will bring everyone into the same room and provide opportunities for long-term growth, education, healing and a repair of this breach in our community.

In Arlington, we do not run from a crisis; we embrace it as an opportunity to be better and do better. With restorative justice, we seek to foster a frank and honest dialogue of how we treat each other.

If we can all learn how and why this happened, perhaps we can prevent it from happening again. 

May 11, 2018:AHS SENIORS STEP UP: Fund-raiser tops goal
May 7, 2018: 14 AHS vandalism suspects draw scrutiny; police release hate data
May 5, 2018: SLURS: Police report reveals some facts, a source some others 
May 2, 2018: How public, principal responded after homophobic graffiti found at AHS 

This public statement was published on Monday, May 21, 2018. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comment below. You must use your full name.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong


Guest - Michael Rich on Tuesday, 22 May 2018 16:57
Restorative Justice is the way to go

I have been a student of and advocate for Restorative Justice since I first learned about it in 1998. I am pleased that all those involved have agreed to process the vandalism, hate speech case through the C4RJ Restorative Justice process.

I have been a student of and advocate for Restorative Justice since I first learned about it in 1998. I am pleased that all those involved have agreed to process the vandalism, hate speech case through the C4RJ Restorative Justice process.
Already Registered? Login Here
Thursday, 19 May 2022
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

YOUR VIEW: Opinions: MBTA, Roe, Alewife, racism, film, Ukraine, letters, poetry

Your Businesses

Latest comments

John Yurewicz Alewife Brook sewage campaign: Support from Ellen Mass
05 March 2022
The Thorndike Place apartment and pavement construction will re-direct natural underground aquifers ...
Bob Sprague Letters: Emailing Advocate? Copy it here. Roe v. Wade?
17 January 2022
Let the public know with a letter to the editor. For details, see

Housing Authority

Your People

Lt. Dan Kelly

Retired Arlington police lieutenant dies at 58

Lt. Dan Kelly Lt. Dan Kelly, a retired member of the Arlington Police Department, died Tuesday, May 3, after fighting cancer for several years, Chief Julie Flaherty said in a report by YourArlington partner Patch. Kelly, 58, served 32 years as a decorated member of the Arlington Police Department.…
Sulinha Boucher, 2022

Younger than 5: 4th album for Arlington musician

Sulinha Boucher “We Should Be Kind." Listen to it here >> Sulinha Boucher, an Arlington musician for 30 years who is originally from Brazil, has recorded her fourth album for children, “We Should Be Kind." Perhaps you have heard her at the Robbins and Fox libraries, where she has performed for the…
Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal.

Film premieres pony tale: When 2 boys went to Montreal

Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal. / 1967 family photo UPDATED April 29: In 1967 two young boys and their beloved pony took off on a monthlong adventure that brought them fame, fun and a wealth of great stories. Tony Whittemore, 11 at the time, and his brother Jeff, 9, drove a pony cart…

FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below


Support YourArlington

An informed Arlington
keeps democracy alive

Donate Button

YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Wednesday Newsletter

Your Arts

Your Police, Fire


Site Partners

Patch header

Arlington Patch

Arlington Patch has been reporting about the town since 2010. The national site with local outlets…