SAN RAMON, Calif. (KTVU) - One boy has admitted to racist graffiti found in the boys’ bathroom at a San Ramon high school. School officials have not yet determined disciplinary action against the student and did not believe the boy had spoken to police yet as of Tuesday afternoon.
Police opened an investigation into a potential hate crime at California High School after two incidents of hate speech were found scrawled in in both the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms.
The black marker graffiti first appeared in the boys’ bathroom last week. Written above a urinal read “Colored” and above another urinal read the word “Whites.”
The student or students responsible for the graffiti in the girls’ bathroom has not yet been caught.
Students started sharing photos of the graffiti on social media and the school administration said it started immediately investigating, but the black marker writings were gone from the bathroom.
Then Monday morning, more hate speech was found written inside the girls’ bathroom. This time, the writer used racial slurs and was more aggressive.
“I didn’t expect it to come from our campus, but it also let us address that there is racism out here in the suburbs when nobody thinks there is,” said Skylar Robinson, a sophomore member of the school’s Black Student Union.
The San Ramon Valley School District said it notified the school’s resource officer and the San Ramon Police.
“In the afternoon [Tuesday], school administration went around classroom to classroom to talk to kids about it,” said district spokesperson Elizabeth Graswich.
“They wanted the kids to know about it, have the right information, and that they understood it would be taken very seriously.”
Students and parents, however, have a different version of events and said the school didn’t react fast enough.
“This incident definitely doesn’t make me feel any safer,” said Robinson.
“We brought up the issue to admin and they kind of shooed it away. They didn’t want to address it at first until there was pressure from parents and our club.”
One parent, who asked not to be identified, said he was the one who first called police.
“When I called San Ramon Police Department yesterday, they knew nothing of the incident,” said the father of a sophomore student.
“I called the San Ramon Police department and had them meet me up here to write an actual report of the incident and they said it was the first time they heard of the incident.”
San Ramon Police are now investigating the graffiti. The school district said it gave police the surveillance video footage from outside of the bathrooms. Parents are angry they were not immediately notified of the first incident.
“Some of the kids I’ve talked to, they’re in fear,” said the father.
“They don’t like it, they feel like they’re being disrespected, and that they don’t have a voice within the school.”
“I’m shocked. Kids grow up here, coming from Bollinger to Iron Horse to here, never come across an issue like that,” said parent Charlie Rosales.
“Being Hispanic, we’re all different kinds of friends. This is surprising.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, school district officials said a boy admitted to writing the graffiti found last week in the boys’ bathroom. The district says it is reviewing its options for disciplinary action. San Ramon Police and school officials are still looking for the person or persons responsible for the hate speech graffiti in the girls’ bathroom Monday morning.
School District officials said it recently presented “Breaking Down the Walls,” program designed to unify, empower, and engage every student in a positive and supportive campus environment.
“It was a week longgrafi program and it’s disappointing that so soon after something where we invested so much time and energy, and it was such a great experience for everyone, that something like this would happen,” said Graswich.