BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A student has confessed to producing racist graffiti found Monday morning in a bathroom at Our lady of Mercy School for Young Women, officials announced Thursday.

School officials say administrators were alerted around 7:45 a.m. of the message written in a bathroom that said “this school is filled with a bunch of [N-word]. Get out or else!”

Officials say the investigation was led by the Brighton Police Department with full cooperation from Mercy faculty and staff and during that investigative process, one of the students confessed to writing the racist message.

Authorities say “for legal reasons and in accordance with Mercy’s confidentiality practices, the student will not be identified.”

A statement from school leaders said:

Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women has concluded our thorough investigation into the racist graffiti incident that was brought to our attention early Monday morning. The investigation was led by the Brighton Police Department with full cooperation of Mercy administration and faculty. During the investigative process, one of our students confessed to writing the graffiti in the girls bathroom. For legal reasons, and in accordance with Mercy’s confidentiality practices, the student will not be identified. Mercy has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior; appropriate and maximum disciplinary action has been taken.

Even though closure has come to this single incident, there is so much more work to do to understand what people are feeling and fearing. Our students and our community are distressed and hurt; Mercy will work to help heal the wounds caused by this incident, as well as help heal deep-rooted, related feelings this incident has brought to the surface. Consistent with the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, we are planning events and initiatives in the coming weeks to recognize and acknowledge the powerful emotions that are present within our community. We are a compassionate institution, built on a foundation of faith, hope, and love and made strong by the resilience of our students, families, faculty, staff, and everyone within the Circle of Mercy. The road ahead will not be easy, but our love for each other and our school will light the way.

Students gathered outside the building Tuesday morning to rally against hate crime and speak out on the incident.

“I cried a lot,” senior student Janna Smith said. “I felt ‘what am I doing if things like this keep happening everyday?’ I talked to my mom and she said this happened for a reason, use this to make change.”

The following email was sent to parents Monday morning:

Incident Involving Graffiti this Morning

Dear Mercy Parents and Guardians,

This morning, just before Advisement, we interrupted classes with an overhead announcement. We informed the students of graffiti that was found in one of the students’ bathrooms. This was our message to the students:

“Please pardon this interruption for this important announcement. This morning, we found graffiti in a high school bathroom that wrote out the n-word and said, ‘Get out or else.’ We are investigating this and will hold those responsible, whether they are Mercy people or not.

Let us be clear, anyone who uses this language and is disparaging to our Mercy girls and Mercy community is not welcome at Mercy. We are unequivocally a school that embraces diversity and inclusion. We are a Catholic school, committed to gospel values of faith, hope, and love. The world is full of hate and violence. We want all of you to reflect on how Mercy can be a place of love and peace. What role do you play in creating such an environment?

Counselors, administrators, and Mrs. Dickey will be available in the Wellness and Counseling Center during Advisement and throughout the day to support anyone who feels unsafe. We will convene assemblies on this topic this week and will be notifying your parents of this. Thank you; that is all.”

Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women is a private all-girls Catholic school teaching grades 6–12 located on Blossom Road in Brighton.


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