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Manchester superintendent alerts parents to 'racially charged' sign outside middle school

January 19. 2017 1:39PM

MANCHESTER — School Superintendent Bolgen Vargas sent home a letter to parents Wednesday alerting families to a racially-charged sign hung on a fence outside Middle School at Parkside on Tuesday.

The sign referenced the “White Genocide Project," and read, “Diversity is a codeword for white genocide.”

It was removed as soon as it was discovered and an investigation is ongoing as to how it got there, Bolgen said.

Bolgen explained in the letter the sign is part of a campaign known as the White Genocide Project, which, according to its website “believes the present day social policy of ‘diversity’ is nothing more than a coordinated campaign of genocide against White people.”

“The intent of my letter to the Manchester School District community is to emphasize that our schools are proud of and celebrate the diversity of our students and staff,” Vargas said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to discredit any messages that contradict the American values of inclusion and respect. It is our sincere hope that all members of our community support the school district in fostering those values, particularly in interactions with children.”

In the letter, Vargas wrote “It is extremely unfortunate that the person or persons who hung the sign chose the school as the venue to express such ideas. The Manchester School District finds this act of bias deplorable and we denounce it. The true measure of our character is how we choose to respond.”

He said the incident presents an opportunity for adults and children to demonstrate appreciation and understanding “for our diverse backgrounds and culture and to reinforce our shared values of respect and inclusion.

“The Manchester School District is a place where all students are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. This is the focus of our continued work. I ask that you assist us in this mission by being mindful of what you’re seeing and hearing with regard to this latest incident, and report any information to your son or daughter’s school principal,” he wrote.

School officials said such incidents are isolated.

Residents expressed concern over the sign Thursday.

“I’m just really saddened to think any child could have witnessed such hatred displayed on that sign before it got taken down.” said Kathleen Mosca-DePalmenary of Manchester in a social media post. “What an absolutely rotten thing for anyone to have done.”

“I am in total agreement with our superintendent, we have an awesome city with many different residents and we would do well to learn from all of them,” said Jennifer-Ann Harris Belanger of Manchester in a social media post. “We all have unique gifts to offer.”

Manchester Police Lt. Brian O’Keefe said his department is investigating the incident, but no further information was available.

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