Vandals paint N-word, swastikas across Memorial High School walls

HOUSTON – Teachers and students returned back to school Wednesday after holiday break to find hateful words sprayed across the exterior and interior of Memorial High School.

The principal of the high school notified parents of the vandalism Wednesday morning:

“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 the walls, sidewalks, and a library window 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.

Sincerely,
Lisa Weir
Principal”

The Anti- Defamation League said they were dismayed and upset to hear about the hateful graffiti that covered the school walls, but were more than happy about how the principle handled the situation.

“We condemn these messages of hate and find them deplorable.  We share that view with Memorial High School and Spring Branch administrators and staff,” said ADL Southwest Regional director Dayan Gross.

“Our conversations with the school and Spring Branch ISD officials reflect that the situation is being addressed from all angles, and we are confident that Memorial High School students understand that respect is of utmost importance on campus and administrators, counselors and faculty are doing everything they can so that students feel they are in a safe learning environment.”

Principal Weir released a statement asking students for help identifying the vandal:

“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.”

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