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Parkway Central students walk out in protest after racist graffiti found in bathroom

In a letter to parents, Principal Tim McCarthy said the racist hate speech was found Wednesday afternoon

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Several Parkway Central High School students walked out of class in protest Thursday after racist graffiti was found written on the walls of a bathroom.

This comes a day after leaders in the Parkway School District announced they have launched an investigation into the matter.

In a letter to parents, Principal Tim McCarthy said the racist hate speech was found Wednesday afternoon. He called the graffiti "an affront to the core values of our community and a serious violation of our discipline code."

A Parkway spokeswoman said school officials are reviewing school security cameras to see who went into and came out of the bathroom before the graffiti was reported. The spokeswoman said the people responsible for the graffiti will face serious consequences.

A 5 On Your Side photographer at the scene showed a large group of students walking out of the school. We are continuing to follow the developments on this story and will update this article as more information is learned.

Credit: KSDK

An unidentified student who said she is a sophomore addressed an administrator at the student gathering outside of school.

“You’re not changing,” she shouted. “You sit here and you’re saying you are, but you’re not. I shouldn’t be out here. I should be in there getting my education.  But I have to sit there, and I have to be in fear of what’s going to happen to me at that school.”

A woman who identified herself as a parent said it’s time for change.

“You all need student representatives on these panels and in these meetings to speak to what’s real,” she said. “It’s 2021. Period.“

The administrator referred to the student protest which was underway.

“Our full example of that is right here in front of us,” he said.

The full letter from Principal McCarthy is as follows:

PCH Community,

Regretfully, I am sending this email to share with you information regarding a serious incident at Central High this afternoon: racist hate speech was written on bathroom walls at school. This act is an affront to the core values of our community and a serious violation of our discipline code. Please know that we take this offense seriously and will work with district officials to investigate the incident and hold anyone involved accountable for their actions. If you have any information that would assist us in the investigation, please contact a grade level administrator or me.

Also know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting all and each of our students. High school is a place for young people to feel connected, supported, engaged, challenged, cared for, and loved. Acts of hate, whether they be rooted in racism, religious bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, or any other form of prejudice, cause our students to feel the opposite of each of those emotions. Our core values of respect, integrity, and caring remind and inspire us to be our best selves with and for one another, which helps us create a positive school community for all students. This is the vision I know we share for Central High!

As we prepare for school tomorrow, Central High administrators, counselors, teachers, and staff will be here to support our students and respond to the harm this incident has understandably caused. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Tim McCarthy

Principal, PCH