A black student admitted to writing racist graffiti in several bathrooms in a Missouri high school that led more than 1,000 students to walk out in protest.
The black student admitted Tuesday to scrawling “HOPE ALL BLACK PEOPLE DIE” and the N-word, “N*****” September 23 in several bathrooms in the Parkway Central school, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
According to the report, district officials believe racist graffiti found at Parkway North school may have been drawn by another vandal.
Students walked out in protest September 24 after organizing on social media following the discovery of the graffiti.
The Post-Dispatch reported students, some with bullhorns, “cursed and shouted at school administrators,” pointing out this had not been the first incidence of racist graffiti, and demanding to know how school policies will change.
“No justice, no peace,” some of the students chanted during the protest, and passed around a megaphone to talk about their experiences of racism in school.
“I am sick and tired of people getting racially profiled,” said Catherine Arlena Lopez-Reyes, one of the protesters. “I just want to say to the school, do better.”
Yahoo News reported the school district announced the racist graffiti found in Parkway Central’s bathrooms was the product of a “hate hoax.”
Superintendent Keith Marty wrote to parents Tuesday to inform them a black student was responsible for the graffiti at Parkway Central.
“This does not diminish the hurt it caused or the negative impact it has had on our entire community,” Marty wrote, adding:
The student is facing severe disciplinary consequences and referral to law enforcement for investigation. Parkway will continue to hold students responsible for any behavior that threatens or degrades others in our school community.
“We cannot presume the reasons a student would do this,” he said.
Marty also praised the student protest.
“Students proactively led walkouts at multiple Parkway high schools and in these moments, many students shared personal experiences of racism throughout their lives and at school,” he wrote.
Brittanee Jackson, a 17-year-old senior protester, told the Post-Dispatch it was “embarrassing” to know the racist slurs had been written by a black student, but added the students’ anti-racism message was still important.
School officials, she added, should work to establish a clearer policy to prevent racism.
“If we’re going to a school that is very diverse, that’s probably one of the first things that should be done,” Jackson said.
According to the Post-Dispatch, the district has encountered similar incidents in the past.
In 2017, a nonwhite student admitted to writing “White Lives Matter” and a racial slur in a Parkway Central bathroom.
Earlier this year, two 18-year-old individuals, one of whom was black, were charged after spray-painting racist graffiti on the outside of Kirkwood High School and Nipher and North Kirkwood Middle Schools.