Parents don’t know whether to send their children to school next week after the discovery of threatening, anti-Muslim graffiti. “This is serious,” said the leader of a parents association.
Threatening, anti-Muslim graffiti found in a girls bathroom at Kent-Meridian High School has some families on edge.
“All Muslims dead on 10/30,” read the graffiti, which also included swastikas and the hashtag “MAGA” — commonly used to refer to the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Kent police are investigating and don’t yet know whether the threat, found Tuesday, is real, said Cmdr. Jarod Kasner.
Regina Elmi of the regional Somali Parents Association said she’s heard from parents who are scared to send their children to school.
“This is serious,” she said.
The high school put a note on the bathroom Tuesday telling students not to use it, according to Hawa Ali, an older sister of two students there. One student went in anyway and took photos of the graffiti. They quickly spread on social media.
Ali said her sister got a text about the graffiti in math class.
On Friday, Principal Wade Barringer sent a letter to families of the school’s roughly 2,500 students. “Currently, there are no specific threats directed at individual students,” Barringer wrote. “However, we will implement extensive security measures on October 30 to help us maintain a safe campus.”
District safety officers and Kent police will have an increased presence, Barringer said.
Some families say they should have been notified sooner.
District spokesman Chris Loftis said the district, which called police immediately and started its own investigation, wanted to communicate in a thoughtful way that balanced informing and alarming.
“Students were already alarmed,” Ali said. “They found out on their own.”
Reports of hate crimes are on the rise locally and nationally. Muslims, Jews, blacks and LGBTQ individuals have all been targets.
Ali, whose family immigrated from Somalia, said her sister was once taunted by a fellow student, associating her with the Islamic State group, ISIS.