Racist, hate-filled graffiti left at Memorial High School

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Officials with Spring Branch ISD are investigating 'racist and hate-filled' graffiti left overnight at Memorial High School.

The district called the graffiti "highly offensive nature of content." Some of the graffiti sprayed on the campus included the N-word and "white power."

"We stand against hate in all its forms and will never tolerate behavior that makes any member of the Spring Branch ISD family feel unsafe or disrespected," the district said in a statement.

According to a letter from Principal Lisa Weir to parents, the graffiti appeared along the main courtyard and the west parking lot wall. It contained racial slurs, hate symbols and foul language.

NAACP Houston responded to the graffiti and called on the district to take appropriate actions.

"Racism is a sore that we will not allow to fester and we will do whatever is necessary to expose those people who are carrying the racist message," Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz said.

NAACP officials said they will work with the district to come up with a solution. They cited reports that some of the white students stood in front of the graffiti, which included a Swastika, and posed for photos.

"It's unfortunate that children in 2017 have to return to school and find these disturbing images on campus," Dallas Jones said.

Police with Spring Branch ISD are investigating the incident. The district is expected to review surveillance cameras from the campus.

Full letter released:
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
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