“It's not writing on a bathroom wall. This is significant destruction of school property. This level of graffiti is vandalism.” -- Superintendent Michael Sawyers

New Albany police are looking for the person or people responsible for vandalism to New Albany-Plain Local Schools property.

The vandalism, which was derogatory in nature, was discovered at 6:30 a.m. today, May 15, said Superintendent Michael Sawyers.

According to an email to the school district community, three tennis courts and an equipment storage shed were vandalized.

Sawyers said the vandalism included racial remarks against multiple ethnic groups and graphic representation of the male anatomy.

“It’s not writing on a bathroom wall,” he said. “This is significant destruction of school property. This level of graffiti is vandalism.”

Sawyers said disciplinary action could include expulsion, depending on the results of the police investigation.

“We’ll reserve the right to prosecute based upon the investigation,” he said.

The graffiti was painted over after it was discovered, Sawyers said. The tennis courts, which are used by the community and by grades 7-12, will require resurfacing, he said.

Sawyers said New Albany High School principal Dwight Carter told students during grade-level assemblies he was saddened and disheartened by the vandalism.

Sawyers commented on the vandalism in his “message from the superintendent” post on the district’s website.

“I challenge each of us to remember that cowardly acts such as these do not define who we are as a school community,” he wrote. “Our actions and each of our responses do. Our learning community values diversity, and it is our collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all students to achieve academically and developmentally. Choose to have a voice, and if you see something, say something today, tomorrow or at anytime in the future.”

He concluded by asking anyone with information to contact any district administrator or the New Albany Police Department.

Sawyers said the vandalism likely would be further discussed this week during planned activities as part of the high school’s Peace Week, an event founded by students in 1999 after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah