Blue Valley High School administrators and Overland Park Police are investigating after racist and homophobic vandalism was found written on the stall of a men’s restroom at the school.
Blue Valley Principal Charles Golden first alerted families to the incident on Monday evening in an email imploring parents to remind their children about the consequences of such threats and “hate speech.”
“Please visit with your children tonight; remind them how important it is to avoid making threatening statements in any form,” Golden wrote in his email. “Any type of threat – whether said directly, overheard by others nearby, posted on social media, or even written on a restroom wall – can lead to serious school and legal consequences.”
The vandalism was found in a bathroom stall
- In his email to parents, Golden said the vandalism targeted a number of marginalized groups, including “African Americans, homosexuals, minorities generally and the police.”
- The vandalism also entailed a threat that specifically targeted either the police or an individual student, but it was “written in such a way” that made it difficult to tell, Golden said.
- The school did not name the targeted student, but said the student and their family had been made aware as Overland Park Police continued investigating.
BVHS dealt with another act of racist vandalism earlier this year
- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, the press box at Blue Valley High’s football stadium was spray painted with offensive language and graphic images.
- The vandalism — which included swastikas, along with homophobic and racist slurs — prompted students and community leaders to emphasize the importance of addressing antisemitism and racism in schools.
- Four teenagers were later charged in connection with the vandalism — one of which was a former Blue Valley High student.
- “Unfortunately, because similar vandalism has happened here before, we know from experience the importance of calling it out for what it is,” Golden said in Monday night’s email.
The police are continuing to investigate
- As of Thursday, district officials reported no further updates to the investigation.
- In his email, Golden said administrators would “respond accordingly” once the person who left the graffiti was identified, and that the school will continue working to stop this type of behavior.
- “Please understand that we continue to stand on the principle that hate speech has no place at Blue Valley High School,” Golden said. “We are one community. Our response in moments like this will always be to continue fostering a culture of respect and responsibility so that every student and adult in our community can feel safe and welcome.”
- In a statement, local nonprofit SevenDays condemned “hate in any form” and commended the efforts of the school and the police in investigating and discouraging acts of hate speech.
- “SevenDays® is about teaching kindness,” SevenDays officials said. “This week’s discovery of hate speech vandalism in a bathroom stall at Blue Valley High School indicates we have a lot of work to do.”