NORMAL — No criminal charges will be filed against a student who drew a swastika and the words “I hate minorities” on a row of lockers in the University High School boys’ locker room last week.
“It was written in spray deodorant and was able to be wiped off easily and so there was no criminal damage,” Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff said Tuesday. “It didn’t rise to the level of criminal damage. It was probably just a case of using bad judgment.”
Laboratory Schools Superintendent Dana Kinley said administrators quickly identified the student and are dealing with it administratively.
“This is a matter we take very seriously and are handling it that way,” she said.
Principal Andrea Markert sent a letter to U High students and parents/guardians, informing them of the incident.
In it, she said the staff will take appropriate disciplinary steps.
“One of our core values is to strive for an inclusive environment for students,” she wrote. “All students have the right to be free from harassment and discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, status as a veteran, or sex.”
“Our priority in our Pioneer Plan for Progress (our school improvement plan) is to identify and develop strategies for implementing our adopted diversity philosophy,” she wrote. “Our Diversity Committee has been working this year to develop new opportunities for University High School. Fifty students participated in an all-day Diversity Retreat last month, and our teachers will be undergoing microaggression training during our March 22 late start.”
Kinley said the letter was sent so that parents and students knew the full story.
“In today’s social world, word of something like this can spread very quickly and so we wanted to address it and let everyone know that we were handling (it) and that we don’t tolerate such actions,” she said. “Diversity is very important to us and we want people to understand that we work on it constantly.”