OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) – Hateful and racist graffiti was discovered at Oak Park and River Forest High School on Friday, and now the police are getting involved.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Friday night, this was the second time Oak Park police have been called to the school this week alone. This time they entered the restroom and started investigating because of what another student had done.
Two images of the vandalism sparked fear and concern at the OPRF. Someone scribbled the N-word and a swastika on a toilet stall in the first photo.
The second image reveals the same racist slurs and anti-Semitic graffiti on a wall.
A student found the graffiti around 11 a.m. Friday in the second-floor boys’ restroom, the school said.
“We see 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,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you worship, if you worship, who you love, where you come from.”
The center is compiling a digital hate report across the country and Illinois.
“That’s the problem. The internet is the problem,” Pure-Slovin said. “If you scour the websites – the deep, dark web – they spread hate, and believe me if they hate a Jew, they’ll hate an African American.”
Pure-Slovin believes the school district needs to take appropriate action to address this latest high school hate speech.
“We’re going to talk to the superintendent,” she said, “because unfortunately this isn’t the first incident at this school.”
In 2018, similar hateful words appeared at the same high school — but the difference in the incident this time is that the school district isn’t the only organization taking action.
The police are also investigating to try to find out who is behind the hateful graffiti.
“The fact that the police are investigating tells me that they are finally taking anti-Semitism very seriously,” Pure-Slovin said.
And since it happened 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.”
Headteachers have emailed parents calling what was uncovered in the school toilet hate speech ‘and a crime’.
“Please consider that posting hate speech or symbols spreads it and has unintended harmful consequences for the communities it is intended for. Please, if you see hate speech on school grounds, rather than posting about it, immediately notify security personnel in the Welcome Center by dialing extension 3125 if you are in the building or by calling 708-434-3125 if you are outside the building,” said school principal Lynda Parker in a statement.
We know there are cameras in the hallways – part of an internal investigation will be looking at them.