Anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic graffiti found in school parking lot

Anderson High School students made a disturbing discovery Friday morning when they found anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic slurs and symbols painted on some of the seniors' parking spots. 

An investigation is currently underway to find those responsible.

"The parking spots are a bit of a senior tradition," said senior Ford McCracken.

Just like many high schools, senior spots at Anderson High are highly coveted. With only around 30, each one is either given to the highest bidder or raffled off as part of a fundraiser for the seniors. McCracken was one of those lucky seniors who got a spot to make his own.

"I painted my spot to say, ‘getaway car parking only’. It's a reference to Taylor Swift. I'm a big Taylor Swift fan," he said.

Every school day, McCracken pulls into that spot. However, on Friday, McCracken says he pulled into something unexpected. "I was a little bit confused, so I just went around and pulled into my spot. I hadn't seen anything yet," McCracken said.

Multiple students were gathered around the senior spots along with an Austin ISD police car. That’s when McCracken says he first saw the vandalism.

"I put on my backup camera to see if I was in the spot and that's when I saw the word ‘gay’ written right there on my parking spot. I feel that there are a lot of other things that represent who I am better than just putting that word in my parking space because otherwise I would have done it myself if I felt that that was a representation of me," said McCracken.

McCracken was not the only victim of vandalism. Hateful slurs and symbols were painted on several spots.

"There was one spot with a swastika on it, another spot had the n-word spray painted on it with a hard R, and another one had homophobic language. There also was a huge swastika spray painted on the tennis shed," said senior Hannah Cukierman.

Many students at Anderson High felt affected even if their spot were not vandalized. 

"I immediately broke down crying because I am a member of the Jewish community, and it honestly was horrific. It honestly makes me feel unsafe to go to school and I know that a lot of other people feel that way too. It targeted multiple groups, multiple minorities, not just one," said Cukierman.

Students hope Austin ISD takes the proper steps towards rectifying the situation.

"I'm hopeful that Anderson and the larger Austin community will take steps to address these acts. Not only Anderson, but throughout our community and make sure that we educate those about how harmful and hurtful these are and also take steps to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again," said senior Carter Hull.

Not even 24 hours later, the slurs and hateful symbols were painted over. McCracken says he will not forget what was written.

"I'm going to know what was there every time I drive into that spot for the rest of the school year and, honestly, I hope that people don't forget what was there. We can't just move on from this. Something needs to change to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen again," said McCracken.

AISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde released a statement about the incident. Her statement is as follows:

"The antisemitic, racist, and homophobic graffiti at Anderson High School is more than just vandalism. It was a reminder that the work of making Austin ISD a safe, inclusive place is never completed, and the community’s response is proof that the ugly graffiti does not represent who we are. There is no place for hate at Anderson High School or any other school in the Austin Independent School District, and the graffiti is an insult to the great work our teachers, administrators, and staff do every day to make sure every student feels safe at school."

"If your student has been disturbed by these events please have them reach out to their campus counselor. We’re here to support our students who may have felt targeted or unsafe by these hateful images. And if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via Let’s Talk."

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