Riverview mayor calls playground vandalism ‘a hate crime’

The mayor of Riverview is speaking out after a playground at a local elementary school was vandalized with antisemitic symbols over the weekend.

Town officials say it happened late on Sunday evening at the Rebecca Schofield All World Super Play Park at Frank L. Bowser Elementary School in Riverview. The park is named in honour of the Riverview teen who died in February 2018 after a battle with brain cancer.

Mayor Andrew LeBlanc said this incident was not the average vandalism or petty prank.

“This was a hate crime,” he said.

“Let me be clear that antisemitism, and any form of racism or discrimination, has no place here in Riverview.”

It isn’t the first time the park at Frank L. Bowser Elementary School has been vandalized. Vandals also sprayed the structure with graffiti in 2022. It’s also been used as the backdrop of late-night parties and even as a public washroom.

LeBlanc said he has heard from members of Riverview’s Jewish community, whom he says have been “shaken and deeply disturbed” by the incident. He said promoting hatred will not be tolerated.

He also said the town is closely working with the Anglophone East School District and the Codiac RCMP to support an investigation.

“We hope the offenders can be brought to justice, as the severity of this senseless crime deserves,” said LeBlanc.

“May love continue to speak louder than hate. Let us be inspired by Rebecca’s message in this time of hurt and disbelief, “[kindness and positivity] are a choice, and it’s not one you make once — it’s a choice you make every day.”

Anyone with information on the case can contact Codiac RCMP or Crime Stoppers.