Racist graffiti at a Sacramento high school turned out to be a hoax, the 2nd in 2 months

A week ago, local news outlets reported on a disturbing discovery at Rosemont High School in Sacramento. Someone had written a racist comment including the “n-word” on a wall. A report was made to the police:

Deputies with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office say someone wrote the “N-word” on a bathroom stall in pencil at Rosemont High School. The racial slur was found on Tuesday, near the end of the school day.

Attorney Mark T. Harris is the Race and Equity Liaison at Sacramento City Unified…

“Anytime you use the ‘N-word,’ in my opinion, it’s hate speech,” Harris said. “In this situation, the context of the use of the word is very clear, very explicit. There was threatening language associated with the use of the ‘N-word.’ I would call it hate speech.”…

“It is very disturbing,” said [activist Rashid] Sidque. “Is the district really educated on race relations? It may not be a race issue. But, it may be an education issue. They may need to be educated on what that word means and what the significance of using that word means to African American people.”

The Sacramento school district superintendent and school board president both issued statements in response to the incident the next day. “The Board of Education is unified and committed to providing a safe and anti-racist learning environment for our students,” school board president Christina Pritchett said.

Fortunately in this case detectives were able to use security video to identify the culprits.

The Sheriff’s Office released images from the security camera video that shows the graffiti that includes the slur and what appears to be the suspected students in the hallway.

The graffiti was referred to sheriff’s detectives who worked closely with school district administrators. Sheriff’s officials said the school administrators obtained the security camera video that showed two Black female students writing the graffiti on the wall.

After reviewing video, school officials and detectives learned the identities of both students. Sheriff’s officials said investigators would consult with the juvenile division of the District Attorney’s Office to determine whether criminal charges were warranted.

This is the second time in two months that an alleged act of hate at an area high school has been revealed to be a hoax. In February, someone wrote the words “colored” and “white” over a pair of water fountains at C.K. McClatchy High School. In that case too the person responsible was identified a few days later: “The district later said it had a confession from an African American female student.”

There have been two other racial graffiti incidents at Sacramento high schools since December. In one case some 14-year-olds spray painted graffiti including a swastikas outside a school that was not the one they attended. In another instance someone wrote the N-word near a parking space. The ACLU is now involved claiming that the hoax cases have been dealt with more quickly than the non-hoax cases. It’s too early to draw conclusions but it almost appears as if there was one possibly real incident last year which generated attention and spawned these other incidents.