Graffiti found at Westsyde elementary school a potential hate crime

FILE PHOTO - A member of the Graffiti Task Force in Kamloops helps remove graffiti from a building in the city on Feb. 4, 2015.

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops RCMP are investigating a potential hate crime after graffiti was found at Arthur Stevenson Elementary in Westsyde.

The vandalism included hate speech, racial discrimination and threatening language and was reported to the RCMP by the Kamloops-Thompson School District on Monday, Nov. 21. 

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says it’s unclear how serious the threat was as it can be difficult to distinguish between run of the mill graffiti and a hate crime.

“It’s hard to put a level of priority to it,” she says. “Often it’s just words that people put on a wall.”

Police are consulting with the city’s graffiti task force to see if anyone recognizes the style of lettering used. Shelkie would not say who or what exactly the graffiti stated, but it does appear to have been a general statement and not directed at an individual.

The graffiti has been removed.

District student support services director Trish Smillie says they taking the incident seriously, but has not enacted any additional safety protocols.

“We have normal procedures related to safety,” she says. “We have very high safety measures in place.”

Smillie says the district is reminding staff of normal standards, which she describes as already quite high because they’re public schools. This includes entrances and classrooms being locked and monitoring the people who come and go from schools.

The hate language follows a growing trend of racial graffiti and similar activity accross North America, including incidents in OttawaToronto and New York

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