A wall at Whittier Elementary School was found defaced with a racial slur and an obscene image Monday morning.
According to Frederick County Public Schools spokesman Brandon Oland, a school employee found the graffiti, done with washable sidewalk chalk, around 7 a.m. and notified administration. From there, the administration notified the Frederick Police Department. Other residents and passers-by also saw the profanity.
Oland said building staff were quick to remove the graffiti before students and other staff arrived to the school. While he was happy it was removed expeditiously, Oland said he was disappointed to see something like this happen at Whittier.
Whittier’s principal, Lorcan OhEithir, shared this sentiment in an email to the Whittier community.
“As the principal, I know that I speak for all of our staff when I say that racist, vulgar and offensive language and actions have absolutely no place in our school, in our community, or in any part of our world for that matter,” OhEithir said.
Police are currently investigating the incident and are working with the school to catch the culprit, said Frederick Police Department spokesman Allen Etzler. Cameras in the area will be used to try and find a suspect, he said.
Etzler emphasized that if the cameras don’t provide any useful information, the community would be a big part in catching the culprit. He encouraged residents to call the department’s tip line if they know anything about the incident.
“These types of crimes, a lot of time, it takes some community assistance,” Etzler said.
According to Oland, this is the first time Whittier has experienced such an incident. Etzler added police don’t see much racially and sexually charged graffiti, although it has been on the rise in the past year.
If a suspect is caught, they will face a charge of malicious destruction of property, Etzler said. Additionally, if the suspect is a student, they will receive disciplinary action based on guidelines in the county’s student handbook, Oland said.
Correction: The headline has been updated to show that there was just one slur written on the Whittier Elementary School building.