Graffiti mars Madrona K-8 once again

Damage includes political, hate, sexual and profanity references
By Brian Soergel | Jun 29, 2017

For the second time in the 2016-17 school year, vandals have tagged Madrona K-8 in Edmonds with graffiti.

This time was worse than the last.

According to Edmonds Police Sgt. Josh McClure, the graffiti damage – a malicious mischief misdemeanor – happened sometime between Friday night, June 23, and Sunday morning, June 25. The school’s graduation was held 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Vandals spray-painted several areas of the school roof, including a skylight, and new sidewalk. The graffiti included messages of hate, political disdain, sexual references and other vulgarity, McClure said.

In addition, the damage included other letters, numbers and unidentifiable images.

Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan condemned the incident and, in particular, the hate speech.

“We will not tolerate such reprehensible acts in this city, and we will do what we can to find those responsible and hold them accountable,” Compaan said. “I am in communication with our city’s Diversity Commission, and appreciate their concerns on these matters.”

The commission, in a statement, said that it is concerned about the “reprehensible incident of racially charged graffiti tagging at Madrona” and encourages Edmonds residents to engage in reflection and/or dialogue with friends, family and neighbors about the incident and its potential causes and ramifications.

“Our mission,” the statement continued, “is dedicated to exploring and addressing the environment and conditions in Edmonds that may lead to such hateful and aggressive acts. Consequently, the commission also invites the public to attend its meetings to share thoughts and comments on this or other related issues.”

A public comment period is provided at each of the commission meetings, which are held on the first Wednesdays of every month at 6 p.m. at the Edmonds Senior Center. (This month’s meeting, however, is July 12, due to the July 4th holiday.)

In an earlier incident at Madrona, in November, hateful and derogatory terms scrawled at Madrona have some students afraid to enter bathrooms. The words were derogatory slang terms for gays, African-Americans and women, said a parent who became concerned after his son told him about the graffiti.

At the time, Edmonds Police Sgt. Shane Hawley said the incident was classified as malicious mischief due to the words not being directed at a specific individual, which is what state statute says has to occur for it to be classified as a hate crime.

No suspects were identified in that case, McClure said.

“As many of you know, we had tagging incidents in the interior of the school earlier this school year,” Madrona Principal Lynda Fischer, who is retiring, wrote this week in a letter to parents and guardians.

“We want to emphasize that we take this seriously and want to identify the individual or individuals responsible for this latest incident. Please discuss with your student as you see appropriate that anyone with information about this should report it to the police as part of their investigation.”

Madrona will name a new principal on July 1, Kathleen Hodges.

“That individual and district leadership will be closely looking at the concerns being expressed by members of our community in light of this repeat incident,” Fischer wrote.

McClure said Edmonds police have been in regular communication with the Edmonds School District and Madrona School administration.

Detectives are working to determine the identity of the suspect(s).

If you have any information, you can call the Edmonds police tip line at 425-771-0212 or go to www.epdtips.edmondswa.gov.

Separately, in April, vandals spray-painted swastikas on more than 10 vehicles and residences in the Westgate and Esperance neighborhoods. During interviews with the Edmonds victims, police said there was no information that led them or the investigating officers to believe that they were targeted because of any specific protected class.

 

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