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Police investigate offensive etchings left at BOCES

SARANAC LAKE — Offensive etchings were carved into a teaching car at the Adirondack Educational Center, and the vandalism is now under State Police investigation, according to a Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES representative.

FEH-BOCES Chief Operating Officer Steve Shafer described the etching on the auto-tech program car as “highly offensive,” but he declined to say what exactly it was. He said it was concerning enough to notify the police shortly thereafter.

“The etching was relatively small but clearly visible,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We take anything of a criminal nature very seriously.”

In a follow-up email, Shafer said school Principal Rick Swanston was notified of the etching by a teacher on the evening of Sept. 30. The school did an internal investigation the next day and contacted State Police on the morning of Oct. 2.

Shafer said he didn’t want to comment further because the police are still investigating.

State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman confirmed that the police are still investigating and didn’t provide further details.

FEH-BOCES covers all of Franklin County as well as the Lake Placid Central School District in Essex County and the Long Lake and Raquette Lake districts in Hamilton County — 10 districts in all. It provides vocational education in fields such as cosmetology, culinary arts natural resource sciences at campuses in Malone and Saranac Lake, and also offers other services to school districts. It is one of 37 BOCES districts statewide.

Shafer recently retired as its superintendent.