WASHINGTON — The office of an African American employee of the U.S. Department of Education was vandalized earlier this week, and other employees have expressed concern that the attack may have been racially motivated. African art figurines were found beheaded, with their limbs removed, and a school desegregation poster was damaged, according to Education Department employees and a congressional aide.

The incident happened at the department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the employees and the aide told NBC News. The department said the employee had been out of the office for several days and reported the incident on Tuesday afternoon.

The poster, which was pulled off the wall and damaged, was believed to depict Ruby Bridges, an African American schoolgirl who became an

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