OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Hateful, racist graffiti was discovered Friday at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and now police are getting involved.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Friday night, this was the second time Oak Park police were called to the school this week alone. This time, they went inside a restroom and started investigating because of what another student did.
Two images of the vandalism have sparked fear and concern at OPRF. Someone scribbled the N-word and a swastika on a bathroom stall in the first picture.
The second image reveals same racial slur and anti-Semitic graffiti on a wall.
A student found the graffiti around 11 a.m. Friday in a second-floor boys’ bathroom, the school said.
“We’re seeing it in many schools,” said Alison Pure-Slovin, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
She explained the mission of her organization.
“Human rights for all people,” she said. “It doesn’t make a difference who you worship, if you worship, who you love, where you come from.”
The center compiles a digital hate report across the country and Illinois.
“That’s the problem. The internet is the problem,” said Pure-Slovin. “If you go through the websites – the deep, dark web – they’re pushing out hate, and believe me if they hate a Jew, they’re going to hate an African American.”
Pure-Slovin believes the school district must take the appropriate measures to address this latest hate speech at the high school.
“We are going to speak to the superintendent,” she said, “because unfortunately, it’s not the first incident at that school.”
Back in 2018, similar hateful words popped up at the same high school – but the difference in the incident this time is that the school district is not the only organization taking action.
Police are also investigating to try to find out who is behind the hateful graffiti.
“The fact police are investigating tells me that they’re finally taking anti-Semitism very seriously,” Pure-Slovin said.
And with this occurring the same week a student was arrested on school grounds with a loaded gun, Pure-Slovin says you can’t take any chances.
“We should take any threat seriously,” she said. “We don’t know who the lone wolf is.”
School leaders sent an email to parents, calling what was discovered in the school restroom hate speech “and a crime.”
“Please consider that posting hateful speech or symbols spreads it and has unintended harmful consequences for the communities at which it is directed. Please, if you see any hate speech on school grounds, rather than post about it, immediately notify security staff in the Welcome Center by dialing extension 3125 if you are in the building or calling 708-434-3125 if you are outside the building,” school principal Lynda Parker said in a statement.
We know there are cameras in the hallways – part of an internal probe will involve looking them over.