KIRKWOOD, Missouri (KMOV) — Kirkwood police arrested three people after racist and derogatory’ statements were spray-painted onto three schools Wednesday.
Daniel Moore, 18, and Christian Reese, 18, were charged with property damage. A juvenile was also taken into custody.
The school district said Reese and Moore are Kirkwood School graduates and the minor is a current student.
The vandals hit Kirkwood High School, North Kirkwood Middle School, and Nipher Middle School. Surveillance video captured three suspects entered the alley of Kirkwood High School through the West Jewell cut thru and spray painted graffiti on the wall.
Maintenance crews and passersby noticed the graffiti and called police. By Thursday afternoon, the messages had been covered.
The principal at Nipher asked counselors to address the situation with students Thursday.
“Just the nature of our profession we’re used to talking about with people about uncomfortable things so I think they feel like we were able to best give that nurturing comfort to students who are more able to open and talk with us about things,” said 8th grade counselor Carmon Griffin.
Griffin and the other counselors addressed the students during homeroom and let them know counselors were available if students wanted to talk.
“It’s okay for people to have differing opinions because that’s going to happen. We all have different backgrounds and different beliefs but that it’s not okay for us to take it out you know in a violent manor or to you know spray paint a building or to think it’s okay to make derogatory comments about others or anything like that,” said Griffin.
At North Kirkwood Middle School, the principal requested a video be shown to students that said in part,”We’re not going to read all the words that were written on the walls because that’s inappropriate. I’m not going to repeat that language but just know it was hateful and hurtful and we’re not ever going to tolerate that kind of language.”
The Kirkwood Schools Superintendent, Dr. David Ulrich, released the following statement:
“I am saddened and disappointed to report that last night, vandalism was reported on the campus of Kirkwood High School. The vandalism included racist and derogatory statements spray-painted on the exterior of the building. The administration immediately contacted the police. District staff then searched other Kirkwood School District school campuses. Upon investigation, it was discovered that racist vandalism also occurred on the campuses of Nipher Middle and North Kirkwood Middle Schools. Overnight, KSD maintenance crews worked to clean the vandalism.
Our staff members, the District administration, and the Board of Education strongly condemn racism, hate speech, and acts of vandalism. We are dealing with this head-on. We are continuing the important conversations and education on racial equity for our entire community. Each building principal and counseling staff addressed this situation with their students, staff and families.
We will continue to work closely with the Kirkwood Police Department to ensure a complete investigation into this matter.”
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