PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A racist graffiti message targeting a national movement turned up at a Palo Alto high school, and police say they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Custodians discovered the racist, and pro-Donald Trump graffiti scrawled on benches and walls at Palo Alto High School Monday morning.
Vandals wrote “Black Lives Suck” and “Trump 1237”, a reference to the number of delegates Mr. Trump needs to gain the Republican nomination for president.
“I was just like surprised,” Student Brendan Sperling said.
Sperling, one of the few African American students on campus, said he did not feel threatened by it.
“Probably just some low life kid who couldn’t say it to anyone’s face, so he tried to be cool and write it down,” Sperling said.
Custodians took the graffiti down and called Palo Alto police, who are investigating this as vandalism, and a hate crime.
The Palo Alto School District is also investigating, and trying to get students who may know something to step forward.
“We work very hard to maintain a safe learning environment and so when we see this kind of language on our campus, we have to take it very seriously,” Jorge Quintana, Palo Alto Unified Spokesman said.
According to the U.S. Census, Palo Alto is less than two percent African American.
White and Black students at the school said there are underlying racial issues that sometimes creep into school.
“I think there are race problems everywhere unfortunately, but hopefully with time we’ll minimize some of it and be more accepting of one another,” Student Alexandra Stump said.
Some students blamed Mr. Trump himself for inspiring the hate messages.
“You have someone like that going for president and it makes it ok with a lot of the things he says. I think it allows a lot of the kids or people to do think like that to speak up and say something,” Student Aji Akinonola said.
Students say the incident has prompted discussions about race and politics both in and out of the classroom.