AHS SENIORS STEP UP: Fund-raiser tops goal

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

A fund-raiser established by the senior class at Arlington High School the day after news broke about vandalism and homophobic graffiti at the school has topped its $3,000 goal.

Olivia Weiss, a senior, reported the GoFundMe effort on the Arlington List Facebook group Friday, May 11. As of 8 p.m., $4,150 had been raised. See the donations here >>

"As we have already exceeded our goal and donations have slowed," she wrote May 11, "we will be ending the period for donations tonight but I wanted to recognize that this is something that the class of 2018 has been working on and we appreciate any and all support we can get!"

She added: "To be explicitly clear, the money will be given to the high school via the Friends of Arlington High Fund."

A meeting with student government and the administration will be held to determine the exact breakdown of how the money will be used. Find out more information here >> 

The effort from the senior class addresses the fact that many of the 14 questioned in connection with the physical and emotional damage are seniors.

The GoFundMe page provides information about the damage that has yet to be reported: "These individuals ransacked the school; they broke art display cases, shattered vending machines, smeared peanut butter and other substances on the walls, emptied fire extinguishers ...." The spray-painting of two homophobic slurs and a swastika outside the school was previously reported.  

A quote from the GoFundMe site says: "This news was horrifying to hear, not only for myself who, as a young member of the Jewish community, sees a swastika as a reminder of the millions murdered during World War II, but for the entire high school, especially those that identify as LGBTQA+, Jewish, or were simply hurt by the harmful language.

May 11, 2018: Swastika found at Harvard University building

"This is, in no way, what Arlington High School, or the Class of 2018, stands for. This fear and senseless destruction, is not what Arlington High School believes in or supports.

"We do not now, nor have we ever, stood for homophobic, anti-semitic, racist, transphobic, sexist, or any other discriminatory rhetoric. I am disappointed, my classmates are disappointed, but we have made it very clear that we will not let this define our school or our community.

"There has been a feeling of responsibility among the senior class to make this right -- and that does not just mean paying for new display cases. This GoFundMe page is one step of many to begin not only repairing the physical damages, but giving thanks to the maintenance staff that worked tirelessly to clean up the school so we could learn unhindered by the recklessness of some of our classmates.

"We are not simply raising money for the repairs of the school (replacing fire extinguishers, new glass panels, new vending machine, etc.), but to restore a community that has been harmed by hateful, discriminatory actions. Any donations, of any size, are greatly appreciated and will go to the Friends of Arlington High School fund.

"On behalf of the Class of 2018, thank you. Our time at Arlington High School is coming quickly to an end, but we are eager to make these last days count."

Comments at the site reflect support for the effort. One suggested making sure those responsible pay for the damage and be involved in a program of restorative justice.

Officials have not identified by name any of the suspects or said what actions may be taken, including how the students' actions may affect whether seniors participate in graduation. A source has told YourArlington that one senior has received a 10-day suspension.

Chief Fred Ryan has told BostonGlobe.com on May 9 that the students were "playing a prank that went drastically awry." He told the website that parents were cooperating and he hoped the investigation would conclude by next week.

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 news summary was published on Friday, May 11, 2018.