Lowell High School in San Francisco, known for the academic success of its students but also what many students perceived to be a racially insensitive poster hung there earlier this year, is experiencing instances of hate speech and graffiti.
Over the past few weeks, Lowell administrators have been dealing with reports of “hate speech and racially or ethnically insensitive comments,” San Francisco Unified School District spokesperson Heidi Anderson said in a statement.
SEE RELATED: SFUSD looks to recruit more black students at Lowell
The school’s spurt of such incidents comes as the nation has reportedly been experiencing an uptick in reported hate crimes and other racially charged incidents following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8.
Trump spurred anti-immigrant fervor and raised safety concerns for Latinos, Muslims and other groups during his presidential campaign. He ran for president on the promises that he would deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and stop — or register — Muslims entering the country.
At Lowell, some students are spreading “racially-charged” hate graffiti in bathrooms, bulletin boards and classroom desks, according to Anderson. It’s unclear whether the graffiti was related to Trump.
“The graffiti was immediately removed,” Anderson said. “When an action was linked to a specific student, there was an immediate consequence.”
School staff plan to send out a letter to students this week condemning the behavior, which reportedly has been committed by a “very small number of individuals” and is punishable with a suspension.
“Please show your fellow students respect at all times,” the letter reads. “You may think that a casual comment about someone’s race, appearance or national origin that you make in jest is just ‘joking around,’ but it is not.”
The letter continues, “It can be hurtful, divisive and make the other person feel like they do not belong in our school, or even in this country. All students at this school belong here. All students at this school belong in this country.”
In February, some black students at Lowell were outraged over a poster hung on the school library door that said, “Happy Black History Month #Gang.” The poster depicted President Barack Obama and rappers.
The SFUSD has since focused extra resources to Lowell and, in March, was reportedly looking to recruit more black students there.