OPRF investigates ‘racist and anti-Semitic’ graffiti on high school bathroom wall – NBC Chicago
Investigations are ongoing after officials at Oak Park River Forest High School said “racist and anti-Semitic” graffiti was discovered on a bathroom wall at the school on Friday.
According to a letter to families and staff, students posted photos of the graphic on social media, which the school said “only increases the harmful impact.”
“Please consider that the posting of hate speech or symbols propagates them and has unintended harmful consequences for the communities for which they are intended,” the letter reads.
School officials have encouraged students to report any hate speech to Welcome Center security personnel by dialing extension 3125 if they are in the building or 708-434-3125 if they are. are outside the building, instead of posting on social media.
“Hate speech is a crime. We want to be clear: These types of objectionable words and symbols have absolutely no place in our school and will not be tolerated,” the letter reads.
As of Friday afternoon, the school had not released information about an individual responsible for the racial slurs, swastikas and other hate speech.
The OPRF has reported other incidents in recent years where racially offensive language and anti-Semitic graffiti have been painted on bathroom walls. In one case, a 14-year-old was charged after a picture of a swastika was dropped on student cellphones during an assembly.
In May 2019, the OPRF was hastily editing its yearbook after a number of students were seen making a potentially racist hand gesture.
Several photos apparently showed students doing a hand symbol in the yearbook, school officials say, which has been associated with white supremacy as well as a so-called ‘circle game’ popular among children .
In an incident earlier this week, an OPRF student was charged after police said he was found with a gun on school grounds on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old was arrested outside the school at 201 N. Scoville Ave. and was charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Oak Park Police said in a statement.
Village spokesman Erik Jacobsen said police “received a report Tuesday that a person intended to bring a firearm to Oak Park and River Forest High School. The individual was arrested on school grounds before entering the building around 12:30 p.m. and a weapon was recovered.
School principal Lynda J. Parker told parents in an email that “everyone is safe and school operations have not been disrupted.”
She urged parents to “please emphasize to your children the importance of telling a school official if they think there is a gun at school”.