BETHESDA, Md. — Montgomery County Police and Montgomery County Public Schools are currently investigating after racist graffiti was discovered over the weekend at Walt Whitman High School.
According to authorities, a resident called police at around 2 p.m. Sunday notifying police of the incident. Upon arrival, police said that a noose and a racial slur were found spray pained on a wall near the school's tennis courts.
Dr. Robert W. Dodd, principal at Walt Whitman High School, emailed the following letter to parents Monday morning addressing the incident:
Dear Parents and Students-
The purpose of this letter is to inform you about a serious incident that occurred over the weekend on the Walt Whitman High School campus. It came to our attention that racist graffiti using the n-word was spray painted on our campus. The Montgomery County Police Department was notified on Sunday, March 1, 2020 and is investigating this incident. I want to emphasize as strongly as possible that hate crimes will not be tolerated in the Walt Whitman High School community. If it is discovered that our students were involved, they will receive serious school-based consequences and may face additional charges from Montgomery County Police.
This year the Walt Whitman cluster has significantly intensified its work to eliminate hate in all forms. We have partnered with the Anti-Defamation League and implemented the program No Place for Hate which has served as the foundation for our weekly OneWhitman sessions with students. The Anti-Defamation League is also providing ongoing professional development for our staff, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to combat hate bias. In addition, Walt Whitman parents have partnered with the Equity Initiatives Unit in MCPS to provide ongoing opportunities to discuss race and racism in our community of schools. This hateful graffiti underscores the urgency of our ongoing work to collectively stand against hate.
In response to this latest incident, we will provide students with the opportunity during OneWhitman on Wednesday to discuss how hate speech in the community continues to impact our school. In addition, we have our next Parent Seminar on Race and Equity at 7:00 PM on March 18, 2020.
Every student deserves to feel like Whitman is their school and is a safe and welcoming place to thrive. We remain steadfast in our commitment to create a positive school culture and we value your continued support. Do not hesitate to call me at 240-740-4800 if you have any questions.
Just last month, police at Salisbury University canceled classes on Feb. 20 after racist and threatening graffiti was found on campus.
Salisbury University President Charles Wright said campus police worked with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to "ensure the safety and security of all members of our campus community."
"Not one, but multiple racist threats are being directed at Black and Brown members of OUR community," Wright said in a letter. "An attack on some members of our campus community is an attack on all of us, and we all need to respond."
A person of interest was later identified, according to campus police, and the case has been turned over to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for appropriate charges.