Palo Alto police have arrested a 17-year-old and detained an 18-year old in a May 12 graffiti incident, which involved racist and sexist messages at Gunn High School.
"The vast majority of it was either racial or sexual in nature," Palo Alto Police Lt. Zach Perron said.
Details were forwarded to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which can follow up with "whatever charges, if any, they feel are appropriate," Perron said, including hate crime charges.
"This was a really aggressive action and a really negative action toward a whole lot of people," English teacher Jordan Huizing told The Oracle. "To act out in that way, there's either a real anger behind it or a sadness that turned into anger, but there's no joy behind this."
The graffiti was discovered in the early morning of Monday, May 12, by math teacher Rajeev Virmani, writer Shawna Chen of The Oracle reported.
"No one thought it was funny," Virmani told The Oracle. "Everyone was kind of shocked and confused."
On their own initiative, students took stacks of paper and rolls of blue tape and covered the messages. Police later documented the damage and maintenance staff painted over or washed off the graffiti.
Gunn Principal Katya Villalobos declined to comment on the incident.
As the investigation was pending prior to the arrest, Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowsky told The Oracle he was concerned about the perpetrator's emotional state. "This person needs help, and I would really want that person -- beyond being held accountable -- to get help," he told the student newspaper.
The perpetrators are believed to be Gunn students.
The 17-year-old was arrested on charges of felony vandalism and conspiracy, which means a crime involving more than one person. He was released to his parents. The 18-year-old was detained but not arrested, though could face arrest later depending on the district attorney's recommendation, Perron said.
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