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Three Blaine Middle School students suspended over racist graffiti in school bathroom

Three white Blaine Middle School students were suspended this week after writing racist graffiti on a school bathroom wall while two black students were in the stalls on March 26, 2019, police say.
Three white Blaine Middle School students were suspended this week after writing racist graffiti on a school bathroom wall while two black students were in the stalls on March 26, 2019, police say. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Three white Blaine Middle School students were suspended this week for writing racist graffiti on a school bathroom wall, while two black students were in the stalls, police say.

All five were coming from a class discussing the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Blaine School District Superintendent Ron Spanjer told The Bellingham Herald that the district does not comment on incidents involving student discipline or subsequent consequences, but did say they’re committed to addressing any allegation of discrimination immediately.

“Our commitment is to addressing alleged or known discrimination in the most expedient and efficient and thorough manner possible,” Spanjer told The Herald. “We have policy and procedural language that directs how anything of a discriminatory nature is to be dealt with.”

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on March 26, Blaine police were called to Blaine Middle School at 975 H Street for the report of a hate crime.

When the two black students went into the bathroom stalls, the three white students wrote “whites only” in green permanent marker on the wall, thinking it would be funny, according to Sgt. Michael Munden with the Blaine Police Department.

Munden said nobody felt threatened and it was intended as a joke. The responding officer explained how serious of a situation it could be to the students, Munden said.

A malicious mischief charge was possible because the writing damaged permanent property, but the Blaine School District declined to press charges. The school district then handled the situation administratively and suspended the three white students, Munden said.

The black students involved were not suspended, Spanjer said.

“The other kids didn’t think it was funny, but didn’t feel threatened,” Munden said.

Spanjer declined to comment further on the specific incident.

Munden said the parents of the black students declined to pursue charges.

A school resource officer followed up with the students and the school the following day about the situation, Munden said.

Spanjer declined to answer whether the graffiti had been removed or provide details on the district’s response to the situation.

The number of students who were suspended was updated March 29, 2019.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.
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