HOUSTON – Spring Branch ISD is investigating graffiti discovered at its Memorial High School campus early Wednesday.
Students returning to school from winter break found obscene messages sprayed on exterior windows and walls. Images and video of the crime were shared on Snapchat.
School staff removed the graffiti within hours of classes starting.
“I hope that they get in a lot of trouble, because there was one girl who was crying. She had to go home. Her mom came to the school, and she was really mad,” said Brooklyn Miller, a student at Memorial High School.
“There was no reason to do it. It was stupid. They shouldn’t go to the school and do stuff like that,” said Megan Duke, another student.
Photos: Obscene graffiti at Memorial HS
SBISD tells KHOU 11 News the vandalism happened at about 1 a.m. A suspect wearing a hoodie was spotted on surveillance cameras, but patrol units missed him or her by six minutes.
Officers are now reviewing additional surveillance video to try and get a clearer image of the suspect.
The Houston Chapter of the NAACP called a news conference to discuss the vandalism Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re seeing this more and more, and we want to call it out every time we see it,” said Yolanda Smith, Executive Director of the Houston chapter.
The organization is calling on SBISD to conduct a quick and thorough investigation of the incident, examine the cultural sensitivity of Memorial High School, and develop a cultural awareness plan to address the issue of inclusion on campus.
“Let’s be clear about the demographics of Memorial High School. We’re talking about a high school that is only 2% African America, it is 17% Hispanic, 16% Asian, and 63% white,” said Dallas Jones, NAACP Vice President.
Spring Branch ISD sent the following statement to Memorial High School families:
Dear Memorial High School Families,
I am writing to inform you that overnight Memorial High School was the target of racist and hate-filled graffiti. The graffiti appears on school property along the main courtyard, and on a west parking lot wall. It includes racial slurs, hate symbols, and foul language. Spring Branch ISD Police are conducting an investigation, and the district operations team has removed nearly all graffiti as of this time.
At MHS, we stand against hate. We are shocked and angered that our school has been targeted, and that our students returned to a new year to find their campus defaced in such a mean-spirited way. I addressed students and staff on the PA system at the start of the day and shared how deeply saddened I was to find such hateful words and symbols that do not represent who we are, and who we want to be as a school, community and society. I shared how we find strength in and take pride in our diversity, and how important it is for us to be sensitive to each other.
Additionally, I encouraged our students to share any information that could help with the investigation by either coming to a school administrator or using the anonymous reporting tool on the MHS website. I also reminded students to be thoughtful and sensitive about what they post on social media.
Teachers this morning provided time and space for students to share their thoughts and feelings during first period, and counselors are ready and equipped to talk with any students who have questions or need support. We are addressing this matter with seniors and sophomores at their assemblies today, and will follow tomorrow with other grade-levels.
MHS is proud to be a long-standing No Place for Hate® School. We are committed to being a school where each and every student, staff member and parent feels safe and respected.
I thank the many parents who have offered their support this morning, and I am so proud of our student and staff response to this situation.
Lisa Weir, Principal