BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — New details have been revealed in the incident of racist graffiti being found at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, News 8 has obtained the police report from the incident which provides reasoning behind the racist graffiti or at least why the student responsible said she wrote it.
The graffiti read, “This school is filled with a bunch of n-word. Get out or else!”
The discovery of the original graffiti led to outrage amongst students, protests, and an expulsion. A few days later, the student did confess to producing the writing, however, for legal reasons, that student has not been identified. For weeks, the public was unaware of a motive behind the graffiti until Wednesday.
The police report obtained by News 8 states the student responsible was practicing guitar in a classroom where a club meeting was underway. The student overheard discussion from the club that mentioned racism within the school, stating nothing is ever done about it. The report states the group of students said middle schoolers use the n-world regularly and use the same remark that was found on the bathroom wall.
In the end, the student responsible said by writing the message on the bathroom wall, “she hoped there would be a better response to their concerns” and the “words were not meant to racially target any one group or person.”
The report states “the elements found support the offense of Making Graffiti.” The Brighton Police Department was advised by school administration that the case would be handled internally and no prosecution will made.
The report also stated this graffiti discovery led school maintenance to check all facilities throughout the building and did end up finding more graffiti, including an anti-Semitic phrase written in red marker in one of the middle school bathrooms.
According to Brighton police, since the student said the intent of the message was not racially targeted, the incident does not qualify as a hate crime.
Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women provided the following statement regarding the new details:
“Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women is committed to the Gospel values and the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, one of which centers around the destruction of racism. We take seriously any event or action that causes harm to our students or school community and have zero tolerance regarding discrimination, harassment, or prejudice of any kind.
Over the past few weeks, Mercy held student assemblies and a listening session, in addition to faculty/staff and parent listening sessions, to address the pain we are experiencing in response to the incident with racist graffiti. These efforts are only the first of many events and initiatives Mercy will conduct over the upcoming days, weeks, and months to bring healing and understanding to our community. We are partnering with area professionals well-versed in restorative practices, communication, and healing. Initiatives such as these are a component of Mercy’s existing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan and actions.
Guiding our young women as we seek true inclusion, empathy, and understanding of the many backgrounds and experiences our students have is, and will continue to be, a top priority. It will occur in formal settings like assemblies, and in more organic situations in how we mentor, facilitate conflict, and develop future world-class leaders.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.