The Delaware County Sheriff's Office and the Olentangy Local School District are investigating after racist graffiti was found in a Liberty High School bathroom.
District spokesman Devon Immelt said a student discovered the graffiti the morning of Sept. 5 and alerted school administrators. He said the message was "removed immediately" from the wall.
According to sheriff's reports, the vandalism likely took place between 7:15 and 10:45 a.m. that day after students returned from Labor Day weekend to the school on Home Road in Liberty Township.
Immelt said the school's administration is working to identify the person responsible for writing the message.
Liberty principal William Warfield wrote a message to parents stating the incident does not reflect the school's values.
"We do take pride in the work we do on a regular basis to embrace diversity and ensure a safe school environment and will not tolerate behavior that demonstrates hate or threatens any individual or group of individuals," he wrote.
Warfield appealed to parents and students to report any hateful or threatening speech at the school to district officials.
"We ask that you share what you have seen or heard with an administrator so that we may address it directly," he wrote. "Liberty High School works hard to ensure a welcoming and safe school environment and can only do that when we all work together and share what we've seen and/or heard."
Heather Cole, the district's diversity coordinator, said she hopes people do not make assumptions about the district based on the incident.
"One of the biggest things we want to reiterate is, the actions of one student (shouldn't) reflect on the entire district," she said.
Jacqueline Powers, Olentangy's supervisor of equity and inclusion, said the district has made great strides in the past several years by forming a diversity committee, scheduling conferences and selecting a diversity liaison for each school building.
"The feedback is always very, very positive about the efforts we're putting forth," she said.
Powers said any student or parent who wants to talk about the incident should contact a counselor, a diversity liaison or a school principal.
Olentangy school board member Julie Wagner Feasel said she's not sure what else the district can do to combat racism and prejudice in its schools.
"I thought that we had everything in place to combat this," she said. "It just breaks my heart."
The Sept. 5 incident marks the second time authorities have investigated graffiti at Liberty this year. Someone spray-painted the messages "(expletive) Trump" and "Free FTA" on the school's exterior in May.