Nearly 100 racist and homophobic stickers were discovered around the California High School campus grounds in San Ramon back in March, and while the stickers were removed as soon as they were discovered, school officials have been unable to identify the two individuals responsible for the hateful graffiti.
In an email released to the Cal High community last week, school administrators condemned the acts and expressed their frustration that these acts have repeatedly occurred at the campus.
"It is deeply disappointing that this kind of behavior continues to take place on the Cal High campus and we want you to know that we take these incidents very seriously," Cal High principal Megan Keefer said in an April 28 letter also signed by administrative staff members Jeff Osborn, Catie Hawkins and Tucker Farrar.
"We recognize that it is hurtful and frustrating when an incident takes place on our campus, especially when the perpetrator of the harm is unable to be identified," they added.
The incident occurred on the night of March 24, when two unidentified people jumped a fence and entered onto the campus. Approximately 100 of the problematic stickers were placed at various outdoor locations at the school, according to district officials.
"The stickers found on the Cal High campus, which carried themes of racism and homophobia, were deeply offensive and unacceptable. We apologize that the situation was not promptly communicated to our school community. That was a mistake and we are very sorry. We want to be clear that we do not tolerate these types of incidents," San Ramon Valley Unified School District Superintendent John Malloy told DanvilleSanRamon.com.
"We were not trying to hide anything, but we do fully understand this interpretation, which is why our district has clearly established an expectation of timely communication should an incident occur on campus in the future," he added.
This is not the first time racist and hateful graffiti has shown up on Cal High's campus, with several similar cases being reported in recent years before the pandemic.
While the investigation continues in identifying the culprits, school officials have released a series of policies and procedures currently in place for staff when racist graffiti or other hateful incidents occur on or around campus.
According to Cal High administrators, current practices include:
* Providing training to the administrative team on how to respond to racist, sexist and homophobic incidents on campus with clear, timely communication and consequences.
* An equity professional development series with the English department focused on planning anti-racist and anti-biased lessons showcasing the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our entire student body.
* Planning events for the community to engage in courageous conversations, including the BIAS Film screening hosted in collaboration with the Cal High PTA.
* Revising the Student Code of Conduct to explicitly name the school's lack of tolerance for any racist, sexist or homophobic speech or action by any student enrolled at Cal High.
* Providing access to counseling support for all students to process these incidents.
"We are conducting professional development focused on a culture of inclusion, and planning anti-racist and anti-biased lessons showcasing diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are providing access to counseling support to help process these incidents for those most impacted," Malloy said.
"We continue to discuss with and train our administrative teams on how to identify and respond to racist, sexist, and homophobic incidents on campuses with clear, timely communication and consequences."
SRVUSD officials have also taken steps to prevent these actions and has created a "Responding to Discrimination and Hate Handbook" that will be used by all site and district staff when responding to incidents on campuses.
The handbook -- which district staff plan to make available to the public soon -- will be used to have all staff trained on anti-racist responses before the first day of the 2021-22 school year.
"I want you to know that we welcome your feedback and look forward to partnering with each of you to create a safer and more inclusive school community for all of our students. It will take all of us working together to shift this culture on our campus so we urge you to remember the importance of 'if you see something, say something,'" Cal High administrators said.
Residents with information about this case or any other can share information anonymously by using the Anonymous Tipline which is linked on the homepage of Cal High's website. Students are also encouraged to reach out to any adult on campus.