High School Graffitied Overnight

Messages echo those of protesters nationwide

Lower+cafeteria+door+spray+painted+after+protests+yesterday.

Brendan Zbanek

Lower cafeteria door spray painted after protests yesterday.

The high school was vandalized overnight with anti-police and anti-Trump statements spray painted in red, white, and silver on and around entrance doors. 

The building was vandalized on the same day that Cleveland saw a protest against police brutality of black citizens.

Spurred by a video depicting the death of George Floyd, 46, protests for the Black Lives Matter movement continue across America. Protests began in Minneapolis May 26 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck as he lay face down and handcuffed for eight minutes and 48 seconds on the evening of May 25. Floyd died soon after while in police custody. 

Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers who participated in or observed the event were fired May 26. Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder May 29. 

Protests reached downtown Cleveland yesterday. Starting out peacefully, the gathering began around 1:30 p.m. near the Free Stamp. Eventually, many buildings, including the Justice Center and businesses, were damaged with graffiti and smashed windows.

On the same day, profane, violent language was spray painted on the high school’s front entrance, the pillars surrounding the front entrance, the ground, the lower cafeteria door, and the entrance door outside Room 153. “All cops are pigs” and “God Bless Amerikka” were among the statements. Threats such as “Kill Trump” and “F*** 12” were also made. A graphic image of male genitalia was drawn as well.

Freshman Rebecca Jacob went out to walk her dog this morning near the high school and was shocked when she saw the graffiti. “It was so surprising because I live right across the street and did not hear anything last night,” she said.

Sophomore Delilah Burton, who learned about the vandalism from a friend’s Snapchat story, said she understands why people were moved to paint those messages. “People are fed up with it. People were vandalizing government buildings and things like that,” she stated in a text.

Senior Caitlin Bocks said that she doesn’t think graffiti is the best way to react to continuous police brutality, but she “can understand the anger and sadness behind those messages.”

Principal Eric Juli, who was at the high school this morning, stated that the graffiti is “almost entirely gone.” In an email to the community this evening, Juli wrote, “Defining our school as clearly and explicitly anti-racist does not start with any of you. It starts with me. I’m ready to get to work first on the topics within my direct control, and then on the topics we all have to address together.”

Superintendent David Glasner stated in an email to The Shakerite that this act is viewed in the “larger context of the anger and frustration that currently exists in our country. In that sense, we believe that this can be a teachable moment in our continued community-wide discussion around issues of race, equity and social justice.”

According to Juli, staff who maintain district facilities removed the messages. 

Glasner wrote, “Our staff worked much of the day Sunday to remove the graffiti from the exterior doors and columns of the High School, and I thank them for their prompt and efficient work.”

Surveillance cameras are installed near the vandalized entrances, and police were at the high school this morning, examining the graffiti. The Shakerite has requested the incident report.

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