School principal Marty Killbridge said students and parents were quickly made aware of the situation.
“Because of the seriousness of the situation and the seriousness we take in reporting it, offering support to our students. So this was our first step. We have engaged Brighton Police who are investigating this hate crime” , Killbridge said.
The graffiti was found by a student around 7:45 a.m. Monday and may have been written in the bathroom stall on either Friday after school or Saturday. School diversity officer Linda Dickey said students had a lot of mixed feelings. Our Lady of Mercy has an 18% black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American student population.
“It’s a hurtful message,” Dickey said. “It’s a very hurtful message. Students of color and their parents of course have concerns, but they’re working on it.”
The community as a whole is also suffering.
“We have administrators, faculty and staff who are deeply disturbed by this because we need to come together,” Killbridge said. “Like I said, we’re a loving community. We’d rather uplift people than tear them down, so we want to make sure that in this process we’re supporting everyone.”
Killbridge told us that if a student is found responsible for the hate message, that student risks everything from detention to expulsion. Right now it’s about going through the healing process.
“We’re meeting with the students this week. We’re going to have several school-wide assemblies, and we’re also going to have a town hall with parents. We’re working on what that will look like because parents need to know that this It’s a safe place,” Dickey said.
Jacqueline Napier graduated in 2017. She emailed us saying: “I am appalled and deeply saddened by this horrific hate crime. My parents were proud to send me to Our Lady of Mercy because students learn to unequivocally embrace diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. These inhuman actions do not represent the values of Our Lady of Mercy.”
The police and headteachers would like to hear from you if you have any information that could help in the arrest of the person responsible for the racist graffiti.