NEW ALBANY, OH (WCMH) — Vandalism does not define us. That’s the message from New Albany-Plain Local Schools Superintendent Michael Sawyers after someone vandalized high school tennis courts with hateful and disturbing graffiti.
The graffiti was discovered before school early Monday morning and was painted over by the afternoon. The vandal drew swastikas in spray paint on the tennis courts and scrawled the N-word on an equipment shed. The district and community said it’s hate they won’t tolerate.
“Awful. I’m disgusted by it,” said New Albany resident Angie Hoff.
People like Hoff were appalled to learn about the anti-Semitic and racist messages left on the high school tennis court overnight Sunday.
“It’s terrible. I just never thought this would happen in New Albany… not in our community,” said Hoff.
Superintendent Sawyers said the vandalism isn’t acceptable.
“This is not what represents us, the actions of a few cowards, as I would interpret them to be, don’t portray us as a school district. And that’s the message I’ve sent to kids across our school campus,” said Superintendent Sawyers.
He said many students were disturbed by the messages.
“It’s inappropriate and kids saw it and they are questioning why would someone want to do this to hurt me? And, that’s a legitimate question and it deserves a real conversation both at school and at home,” he said.
Residents said they support all students and won’t stand for hate in their community.
“I know they’ll rally and I wouldn’t expect anything but that type of a sentiment from our community. We definitely will not tolerate it and it’s not the way we feel,” said Hoff.
Superintendent Sawyers said the school is like a family and that the district will fight make sure all kids have a sense of belonging.
New Albany Police are investigating. As of Monday night, they had no suspects.
The district said security cameras will soon go up at the tennis courts.