PLANO, Texas - Plano West High School is working to clean up after someone spray painted vulgar and racist messages around campus.
A spokesman for the school district said it was a normal day for students, but a letter will be sent home to parents about the graffiti.
Photos from SKY 4 and FOX 4 viewers showed messages on the walls and doors of the school. One referenced Plano East High School. Other messages included f-bombs, the n-word repeatedly and vulgar drawings.
"I mean, it was everywhere,” said student Mark Kanevsky. “It was in between the two buildings in the parking lot, on school vans. It was crazy."
Several students were particularly distressed that some of the graffiti referenced Josiah Utu, a beloved Plano West athlete and student who, along with his mother, was murdered last April by a brother who'd become unstable after suffering a series of concussions.
"It really did bother a lot of people, especially since they desecrated a memorial to our friend Josiah,” one student said.
"They wrote all these profanities on a window and then right next to it they wrote ‘RIP Josiah,’ and it was just so inappropriate,” another student said.
Some of the graffiti would seem to indicate Plano West was being tagged by students from rival Plano East. But students seemed to think it's more likely that's a ruse and that the culprit or culprits are more likely connected to Plano West.
Plano police say a detective has been assigned to the case, and it will be investigated as a possible hate crime.
"When you are dealing with racial slurs, that is something that automatically comes up and is something we do look into to see if it does meet the criteria,” said Officer David Tilley. “Because of the dollar damage, it’s a serious offense either way. Clearly, they have crossed the line, causing this damage and potentially could be facing a state jail felony charge.”
At least one student said she was hurt by what was written.
“What school that did it isn't the main concern, but we would like attention to be brought to this incident because racial slurs were used during this vandalism. As an African American senior at Plano West I don't take this lightly or as a joke. This incident shouldn't get washed away as “prank" or a "joke." It's something that should be addressed and taken seriously,” Lauren Gardner said in a letter to FOX 4.
The school district has declined to comment beyond releasing a letter it sent out to Plano West parents about the “disheartening" vandalism. It promised to "work to maintain a safe and welcoming learning community."
The district is working with police to find those responsible.