New Albany High School started its Peace Week on a sour note this year. On Monday, May 15, students and administrators arrived at the school only to discover that someone had spray-painted profane language, racial slurs, swastikas, and “Trump” on the tennis courts and equipment shed.
Almost immediately after the news spread, however, students began to stand up against the messages portrayed in the graffiti.
Social media was flooded with love and support for the school, and on Tuesday afternoon, there was a spirit assembly outside where students stood in a united circle as Principal Dwight Carter spoke.
“Look around at all of the differences and diversities and who we are,” Carter said in a speech posted to the school’s social media. “This is what we celebrate, not just this week but every single day that we step foot on this campus as New Albany High School.”
The New Albany school district has stated that this graffiti does not represent the school and that one person or group of people will not define the community. Instead, there has been an outpouring of support for the school from students and faculty.
“This day, you’re telling me that you’re choosing to let this unified circle be a demonstration of who we are as a school community. From this day forward, we stand and rise above,” Carter said. Shortly before a student yelled, “Thank you,” and the rest of the school broke into cheers.
Peace Week, a celebration of diversity and acceptance, was started in retaliation to the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Events, such as the UNCHAINED fashion show, aim to stand “against violence, embrace community, and effect positive change in the world.”
Although the perpetrators have yet to be found, the school district is working with the New Albany Police Department to discover who is behind this.
In the meantime, students finished the rest of Peace Week as a united student body, celebrating the school with music and games on Friday afternoon.