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Racist slurs written on Lake Oswego High School bathroom walls

Someone wrote a series of racial slurs on the walls of Lake Oswego High School bathrooms Wednesday morning.

The racist messages, which included "kill the [N-words]," were discovered in three boys' bathrooms, says principal Rollin Dickinson in a message to students that was also shared with KATU News.

The school district contacted the Lake Oswego Police Department and is conducting its own investigation.

The student(s) who wrote the messages is not known.

The high school's newspaper, Lake Views, posted the pictures shortly after students discovered the slurs.

Lake Views' editor-in-chief Camryn Leland says students were disgusted by the offensive slurs.

"It's to get a rise out of people," Leland told KATU. "It should not be tolerated because it should not be passed off as a crude joke."

Leland, a student of color, is among 15 students who identify as African American or Hispanic at the high school. According to school demographics, three-quarters of the student-body is Caucasian. Approximately 1,200 students are currently enrolled at Lake Oswego High School.

"We need to take action," Leland said. "What are we going to do to prevent these kind of situations, what are we going to do to make our students of color feel that they are still connected to the school?"

This is the second time racially charged hate speech went public.

In November of 2016, Lake Views reported a poll posted by a student on the "Class of 2017" Facebook group suggested the senior prank should be to "create a club called 'Klu-Klux-Klub' and find every black kid and sacrifice them."

Leland said the post went unchallenged for months.

High school staff also removed an anti-Semitic poster that was placed in the cafeteria around the same time.

"I think a lot of it needs to start coming from our administration," she said. "They need to start really dealing with it."

School district employees declined multiple times to address these issues on camera Thursday.

In a prepared statement to students, staff and parents, Dickinson wrote:

We are here to learn together and to support each other, and it is essential to us that each person feels safe and cared for here. We also believe deeply in the power of education and trust that our conversations with each other will make a positive difference.

The school says it hosts monthly discussions, called "Laker Seminars," to address racism, hate and exclusion on campus and in the community.

Dickinson says a student-teacher diversity council meets once a month and students are making a "Be Kind Online" pledge.

He added that after the first racist post in November, students engaged in discussion about the incident.

Leland says she hopes staff takes a more direct approach in identifying the students and holding them accountable.

"When we marginalize it by saying, look at the great things that we have done, we're looking at that first and not looking at the actual issue itself," Leland said. "There's no real repercussions that they are feeling or that they are thinking about before doing these things ... that's why they think it's okay to do it."

Full statement from principal Rollin Dickinson:

Yesterday morning there were multiple instances of racist graffiti on the walls of our bathrooms. We contacted the Lake Oswego Police Department yesterday and are doing our own investigation as well.
We apologize for the pain this causes our students, our staff, and this community.
We are here to learn together and to support each other, and it is essential to us that each person feels safe and cared for here. We also believe deeply in the power of education and trust that our conversations with each other will make a positive difference.
I was impressed by how proactive our students were in responding to and even cleaning up the graffiti yesterday, and I know that our students and staff have been having many meaningful discussions today as they process all of this together, support each other, and move forward with purpose.
At this time, we do not know who vandalized our school in this way.

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