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    Swastika found near entrance to Needham High School

    A swastika was discovered near an entrance to Needham High School early Tuesday and the school’s principal denounced the “hateful act” in a letter sent to parents after the third time racist symbols or words were discovered this school year.

    Principal Aaron Sicotte, in the letter to parents, wrote that the symbol of Nazi Germany was found “near the door entering our lobby” from Admiral Gracey Drive. He wrote that the person who left the symbol of anti-Semitism acted between late Monday night and early Tuesday.

    “At this point, we do not know the exact time or who was involved,’’ he wrote. “I know you share my disgust at the offensive and hateful act.”

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    He said Needham police have been notified of the incident.

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    Sicotte wrote that he did not know if someone at Needham High School was responsible.

    “While we do not know if it was a member of the Needham High community who did it, we do know the impact is certainly felt throughout NHS,” he wrote. “An act like this highlights our very real need to continue our work to create a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment for all of our students and staff.”

    Sicotte noted the school has already had to confront racist graffiti and now must deal with the issue of the swastika. Racist graffiti was found in two boys’ bathrooms in November and December when the “n-word” was found scrawled on a wall and the “n-word with an ‘a’ ending,” was found in the second bathroom.

    “NHS needs to be a safe haven, free of graffiti like this and those we saw in December, and able to provide the support we need when the hate does permeate our walls,’’ Sicotte wrote Tuesday.

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    Needham Police Chief John Schlittler said the incident remains under investigation.

    Anyone with information was asked to contact authorities in Needham.

    Mike Bello of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.