Racist graffiti painted in a Missouri high school bathroom sparked a student walkout last week, but now the school district revealed that the perpetrator was a black student.
Racist graffiti was spray-painted in the boys' bathroom at Parkway Central High School in suburban St. Louis on Sept. 22. The graffiti said, "HOPE ALL BLACK PEOPLE DIE," and also used the N-word.
The racist graffiti ignited a mass walkout a day later by over 1,000 students and faculty from high schools in the district, KMOV reported. The participants of the walkout demanded "change."
"I'm sitting in that building, shaking in fear because I don't know what's going to happen to me because of my skin tone," a student said at the demonstration. "We need change in this building and we don't need it then, we need it now."
However, an investigation revealed that the racist graffiti was a hate hoax after a black student admitted to carrying out the incendiary act.
"The student responsible is not white," Keith Marty, Superintendent of Parkway Schools, said Tuesday in a statement. "This does not diminish the hurt it caused or the negative impact it has had on our entire community."
"The student is facing severe disciplinary consequences and referral to law enforcement for investigation," the letter read. "Parkway will continue to hold students responsible for any behavior that threatens or degrades others in our school community."
Even though the vandalism was a hate hoax, the walkout was celebrated.
"Students proactively led walkouts at multiple Parkway high schools and in these moments, many students shared personal experiences of racism throughout their lives and at school," Marty wrote. "I want to tell the thousands of students who participated on behalf of themselves and their fellow classmates: I am proud of you for supporting one another and we heard you loud and clear."
Marty said the walkouts were a "clear indication that more work is needed to ensure our school cultures and communities are safe for each student regardless of their race."
"Let us use this opportunity to continue to grow as a community to be more compassionate, peaceful and loving individuals with care for all," the statement read.
"We cannot presume the reasons a student would do this and it will be important to understand why this happened as we move forward," he said.
A Parkway School District spokeswoman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that officials don't know why the student committed the acts of vandalism or used the racist slurs.
Despite the racist messages being a hate hoax, the school board introduced a new "educational equity" policy.
The policy states that "appropriate revisions will be made to policies and practices such that equity for all students will be an apparent, defining feature. If appropriate, practices or policies may be revised or eliminated in order to produce equitable opportunities for all students."
This is the second hate hoax at the school in recent years. In 2017, "White lives matter" followed by the N-word were written on a girls' bathroom mirror at Parkway Central High School. It later turned out that a non-white student wrote the racial slur.
This adds to the already long list of hate hoaxes committed around the country.
Last week, a black former Emory University employee was arrested and suspected of writing the N-word and drawing swastikas on the university's autism center.
In May, a "person of color" created an Instagram account and sent out hateful, racist messages. The incident caused a school walkout in Minnesota, but later was revealed to be "a hoax sent under false pretense."
Racist and anti-Semitic graffiti featuring references to the Klu Klux Klan was found at Michigan's Albion College in April which ignited 450 students and staff members to walk out of the school. The culprit, who is black, admitted to writing the racist messages.
Parkway Central students react to Black student writing racist messages on bathroom wall www.youtube.com