California high school official says racist graffiti not a hate crime: 'Prank that went sideways'

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A Black female student at a California high school admitted to putting racist graffiti above water fountains, according to an official with the school district. 

“While identification of the person involved in this incident has been addressed, we also will remain focused on supporting the healing of students and staff who have been impacted by this troubling act of vandalism,” Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said Thursday in a statement, which the district provided to Fox News Digital. 

The Sacramento City Unified School District’s race and equity monitor Mark T. Harris told CBS 13 that a Black student admitted to writing the words “White” and “Colored” over two water fountains at McClatchy High. The school district did not release the female student’s name. 

C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento
(Google Maps)

“I don’t believe those words that were on those water fountains were racist,” Harris said, according to CBS 13. “I do not believe they were hate crime or hate speech. Part of it quite honestly is because the admitted perpetrator is a young African American woman.”

Security cameras also caught the student in the act, according to Harris, who described the Jim Crow-styled graffiti as a “prank.” 

“It was a prank that went sideways is my characterization of what the young woman said in her confession,” Harris said at a press conference, the Daily Mail reported. 

“We don’t know why she did it,” he added, according to the Sacramento Bee. “This is not a situation that is the same as an overt deliberate move to do something that is racist, destructive, negative, etc.”

Though Harris said he does not consider the graffiti a “hate crime,” local activists disagree. 

An empty classroom.
(iStock)

“I disagree with it not being a hate crime because at the end of the day we understand when you have colored on one water faucet and white on another kind of faucet what that means – whether it’s 1950 or 2022,”  Berry Accius from the Voice of the Youth told CBS 13.

The Sacramento City Unified School District said they are implementing anti-racism training for staff, are working with law enforcement on the matter, hired a social justice-focused attorney, and are promoting “social emotional learning,” CBS 13 reported. 

“Sac City Unified takes any instance of racial intolerance extremely seriously because such acts harm our students and our entire community,” Superintendent Aguilar said.

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