News

Monte Vista High holds assembly to address racist graffiti found on campus

Incident comes weeks after similar vandalism at Cal High

The mother of an African American teen who discovered racist graffiti in his Danville high school's bathroom Wednesday says she's worried about her children's safety and well-being.

The student and some friends discovered the graffiti in one of Monte Vista High School's bathrooms and immediately informed staff.

The bathroom was closed to students, the graffiti was cleaned up and Danville police and school administrators started an investigation to find the person or people responsible, San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said.

The incident, however, has left LaLene Shepherd shaken and worried.

Shepherd's son, who found the graffiti, and her daughter both attend the school and have been in the district since they were both 5 years old.

"You don't want your kids in an environment like this," Shepherd said. "It's very worrisome."

She said she and her family talked about the incident Wednesday after school.

"As the evening progressed, it became more and more worrisome," Shepherd said. "I know that my kids are going to have to return to this place today."

The school's principal Kevin Ahern sent out an email Thursday morning informing parents about the incident and asking for anyone with information to come forward.

Faculty and students have been working hard to ensure that the school environment is inclusive but "there is still a long way to go to build a campus culture that is safe and supporting for all its students," the email said.

Also, the entire school faculty and all 2,400 students started the day at an assembly where teachers talked about their personal experiences with discrimination and 100 students got up to speak as well, according to Graswich.

"This is a difficult conversation to have but I think the school is doing a great job," Graswich said. "I hope we can learn from this incident and create an environment where students can talk about these kinds of things and feel safe."

Just 24 African American students, or about 1% of the total student population, attend Monte Vista.

Shepard says she's hopeful that the district and school are taking the necessary steps to find whoever wrote the graffiti and to prevent future incidents.

"We'll see what happens from this," Shepherd said. "You hope for the best."

This is the third recent incident of racist graffiti found at one of the district's schools.

In late October, similar slurs were found scrawled on the bathroom walls in two separate incidents at California High School in San Ramon.

Graswich said the district is in the middle of a "powerful conversation about where we go as a district involving possible things related to professional development and curriculum for kids and communication with the parents."

"This is an ongoing conversation that has some strong momentum behind it," Graswich said.

-- Bay City News Service

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Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm

First and foremost there is no room for racism in our schools. I hope they find who did this and punish severely.

I would also caution that so far several reported incidents of racism on campus have turned out to be bogus claims made up.

The fact that someone did in fact post racist graffiti does not mean it was done by a white student.

Whoever did this needs to be held accountable no matter what.


30 people like this
Posted by Danville Resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Danville Resident is a registered user.

If you want to heal as a community stop the anti Trump walk on Friday by the students.
The action of one student does not even closely reflect our community that I have be apart of for forty two years. I have children at Monte Vista and know the children that we know do not share this one persons attempt for attention. That student is a copycat trying to get attention. Let's not give the attention that that person is seeking.
I know Shepard and know that he has the overwhelming love and support of the school body, as would any student at that school of any race. There will always be a few in the crowd but the few do not represent the majority. The majority of the Danville community rallies to heal and help others. Look at our past examples of reaching out.


16 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Sam is a registered user.

Danville Resident: "If you want to heal as a community stop the anti Trump walk on Friday by the students."

I feel pity for those who cannot "heal" just because high school students express their first amendment rights. Who would have thought there were such sensitive and ready to be outraged adults amongst us.

Danville Resident: "That student is a copycat trying to get attention"

How do you know that's all they are? My take is that their parents have probably influenced them. Who knows what goes on in that home.


21 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Sam is a registered user.

Tom: "The fact that someone did in fact post racist graffiti does not mean it was done by a white student"

Why do you even bring this up? Why be defensive about it?


12 people like this
Posted by Jackson
a resident of Danville
on Nov 18, 2016 at 7:46 am

Jackson is a registered user.

I coach and still have my youngest at one of the high schools. It is quite possibly the case that we are "re-programming" our 10,000 plus high school students in the whole district in a reaction to what may turn out to be just one or more students being stupid. Could be a 14 year old saying to his buddy, "Hey, let's go spray paint something that will make the news!" Let us affirm that the vast majority...perhaps the 9,990 high school students are not racist, are not intolerant, are not bullying other students. Shame on us as a district if we don't already believe we have had in place the values, instruction and dialogue with students on these subjects long ago. All that said, I hope the perpetrator of this and the perpetrators of any other such acts are caught and duly punished. It is unacceptable!


24 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Kids write naughty words on bathroom walls all the time. They do it for attention. That’s just what kids do.

You clean it off & try to find out who did it. That’s what adults do.

What you should NOT do is hold a school assembly, call all the news media, have it on TV, talk shows, etc.

That rewards the teen with the attention they seek and will likely result in copycats.

It’s also hypocritical for people to be so outraged by this, yet we see WAY worse gang graffiti throughout the Bay Area all the time that leads to real violence and death. News media ignores that, of course.


Like this comment
Posted by eRACEism
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm

eRACEism is a registered user.

Sam,
"...high school students express their first amendment rights...." YOU are part of the problem in society and a bigot. There are words that are not acceptable in our culture. Maybe you are not college educated or your mother did not teach you proper etiquette/manners on being civil. I dare you to express the C word (rhymes with Aunt to your mother or wife!
eRACEism forever!


12 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Sam is a registered user.

eRACEism: "YOU are part of the problem in society and a bigot"

Supporting the first amendment of the US constitution makes me the problem and a bigot?

You do realize there is a difference between supporting free speech and supporting the speech itself don't you?

I also support the KKK's right to free speech if that makes you feel any better.

eRACEism: "There are words that are not acceptable in our culture"

Like "Grab em by the *****"? Where was your false outrage then?

eRACEism: "Maybe you are not college educated or your mother did not teach you proper etiquette/manners on being civil."

This as well as your opening statement is ad hominem.

For the record I am highly educated and continue to educate myself from a diverse variety of sources, which even includes your rantings. And my mother is a wonderful person much loved by everyone in her diverse community.

Calling me a bigot when you know virtually nothing about me indicates it is you who lack education and upbringing.


9 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Sam is a registered user.

Herman Glates: "That’s just what kids do"

Really? Racist graffiti is part of the culture in Danville / San Ramon?


Herman Glates: "That rewards the teen with the attention they seek and will likely result in copycats."

By that logic, your commenting on this story as well as others also gives the teen the attention they seek. In fact, you're even helping the culprit formulate their excuse - "I'm not racist, I was just seeking attention. This is what kids do".


Herman Glates: "What you should NOT do is hold a school assembly, call all the news media, have it on TV, talk shows, etc."

I disagree. The attention this gets gives the culprit the opportunity to understand that what they did was divisive. And in the long term it is better that this is out in the open. Better that any hidden racism is surfaced for all to see rather than percolating beneath the surface where it can continue to be casually denied with false outrage denials.

People with empathy or those with some ability to think with a degree of sophistication realize that being picked on when you are in a minority is a different dynamic then when you are part of the majority. Having an assembly about this issue also shows support for them.

Millions of people across America, including children, are feeling real fear right now because of statements made by representatives of the majority who will soon have real power. It is the kids who understand this far better than the adults, and that makes me somewhat more optimistic about the longer term future.

It is a shame that there are people in our community who instead of acknowledging that there are people with real fears and concerns, instead choose to go on the attack and focus on what they can find wrong with the very same people. This level of defensiveness really causes me to suspect what their real viewpoints are.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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