The Palo Alto High School administration and Palo Alto Police Department are investigating racist and pro-Donald Trump graffiti that was found on campus Monday morning.
Custodial staff discovered the graffiti before school on Monday, according to Jorge Quintana, communications coordinator for the school district. Student news outlet the Paly Voice reported that two messages "Black Lives Suck," a reference to the social movement Black Lives Matter, and "Trump 1237" (the number of delegates needed to secure the presidential nomination) were written in black marker in at least three places on campus, including a bathroom door and on benches. Custodians immediately removed the graffiti.
Superintendent Max McGee said he is "outraged" by the graffiti.
"Hate speech is a serious offense," he told the Weekly Tuesday morning. "Both sadness and outrage are appropriate expressions for this kind of graffiti."
McGee said there will be "significant and serious consequences" for those found responsible.
Graffiti and vandalism are included as prohibited student conduct in a board policy, as well as discrimination and "hate-motivated behavior."
Mariah Poitier, an African-American student who serves as Paly student government's social-justice and school-climate commissioner, told the Weekly Tuesday afternoon that she was surprised and upset to see the graffiti at a school that champions diversity and inclusion.
The "Black Lives Suck" message was upsetting on a more personal level, she said. It reinforced the very mindset that the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to change: "how much a black person's life is worth versus a white person's life," she said.
How the school chooses to respond, Poitier said, is the "most important thing." The administration nor any of her teachers have mentioned the graffiti, but she hopes they will acknowledge it rather than "sweep it under the rug."
The appearance of the graffiti also coincided with the start of Paly's "Change In Our Schools Week," a student-driven initiative dedicated to increasing awareness around different racial, cultural and gender identities and issues like social justice and mindfulness.
The Paly administration is investigating the incident and also called Palo Alto police to campus on Monday morning, Quintana said. The police department is conducting its own investigation, according to Quintana.