The Calgary Police Service is looking into a vandalism case after a northeast elementary school was defaced with multiple racist and homophobic graffiti messages.
The offensive words and symbols were discovered Friday morning on parts of St. Clare School in Coventry Hills. By late afternoon, a painting crew was seen covering up and removing the messages.
“Seeing it actually in front of my house and seeing all those kids’ reactions first thing in the morning, it’s kind of disheartening,” Jesa Gonzaga, who lives across from the school, said Friday. Her son is also a student there.
“You don’t really know what to do, you just want to shield everyone from looking at it, especially the kids.”
A Calgary Catholic School District spokesperson told Global News that removing the graffiti was a top priority on Friday. The group also reported the vandalism to the police.
“We are extremely disappointed this behaviour still exists in our community,” read a statement from the spokesperson.
“It is a very unfortunate situation that does not reflect the mission and values of the Calgary Catholic School District.”
Even though the words sprayed on the school building were heinous, the situation is not reflective of Calgary as a whole, according to Fariborz Birjandian. He’s the CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and has spent years as an anti-racism advocate.
“I am not saying that we should ignore it, we should definitely take it very seriously,” Birjandian said in an interview Friday.
“But we really have to go back again, have more conversations among ourselves, maybe that should create more conversation in the school system.”