Crime

Obscenities, racially charged graffiti removed from two Lexington schools

Lexington police were called over the weekend to Henry Clay High School and Breckinridge Elementary School regarding incidents of graffiti and vandalism.

“The content of the graffiti was especially concerning because it included a reference to the KKK, a gang and another Fayette County high school,” said school district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall.

Fayette County Public Schools Department of Law Enforcement identified several suspects, she said. Preliminary information indicates the suspects include at least four high school students of diverse races.

But Deffendall said after a preliminary investigation, law enforcement officers have found that the “references to hate, gangs and other schools were not authentic.”

“At this point, we have no reason to believe it is a hate crime but this investigation is ongoing.”

At Breckrinridge, officials found graffiti that was of a sexual nature and mentioned a gang name.

At Henry Clay, a custodian found spray-painted graffiti in multiple areas inside and outside the school.

The graffiti, which included explicit language, the reference to the KKK and another high school, was found in a hallway, on some doors and on exterior glass, according to Lexington police.

The spray paint has since been washed from the building, according to the school district.

An estimated $2,500 worth of damage was reported, police said. But by the end of the day Monday, Deffendall said costs of cleaning the graffiti was less than $500. Deffendall said that because of the investigation, school district officials could not reveal any other details.

In a separate incident in late January, a image that appeared to be an attempt at drawing a swastika was found on a bathroom wall at Henry Clay High School.

Deffendall noted Monday that school officials announced at the February school board meeting that they are creating a task force to examine issues of discrimination in Fayette schools. The group will be co-chaired by NAACP President Adrian Wallace, a student, and the soon-to-be elected new chair of the district Equity Council or a designee.

“They will jump start this work by hosting conversations with groups of students in our high schools about their experiences with bias and discrimination,” said Deffendall. “Our goal is to draw students, families, employees and community members together to ensure that our schools are places that celebrate diversity and teach our students to understand and effectively engage with people of different backgrounds.”

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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