Saturday, September 26, 2020
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School shuts down over racist graffiti

Some racist graffiti was discovered last week in a bathroom at a private school in Towson, Maryland, and school officials closed the school in response, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Has your school been victimized by hate- or bias-related incidents? If so, please help ProPublica record snapshots of these important events in the history of our country by posting information about the incident to the organization’s “Documenting Hate” webpage.

I have pointed out, however, not only that “hate” is often not the root cause of bias-related incidents, but also that labeling those who commit such acts as hateful is often not helpful in solving the bigger problem.

Officials at Loyola Blakefield, a Catholic boys’ school rooted in the Jesuit tradition, said there was no evidence of any specific, imminent threat to student safety, but they decided to close the school, which serves students in grades 6 through 12, Thursday as a precaution.

A day earlier, graffiti in a bathroom stall in Burk Hall reportedly said, “No n——s better be here come Thursday,” according to an incident report filed by police in Baltimore County. Last week, vandals wrote, “We hate n——s,” the police report stated. That graffiti also included a drawing of a figure hanging from a noose, according to the Sun’s Alison Knezevich.

The school has experienced “ongoing bias-related incidents … since the start of the fall semester, and they are becoming concerned about the escalation of the language,” she wrote, referring to school officials and again citing the police report.

Police said their investigation would include not only the graffiti discovered last week but also the other bias-related incidents at the school this year.

“In many ways, our current students are showing tremendous leadership in stepping forward to help spread a message that denounces intolerance and calls out those who would dare commit such acts on our campus,” wrote school President Anthony Day and board Chairman Bill McCarthy in an email. “We are in the process of forming a plan that not only addresses what is at our immediate attention, but also moves us forward over the long term.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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