Three teenagers were charged after Blue Valley High School was defaced with racial, homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs earlier this month.
The boys — two from Overland Park, ages 16 and 17, and a 16-year-old from Excelsior Springs — were charged in Johnson County Court with burglary and property damage. They are accused of vandalizing and damaging the Blue Valley High School football stadium and press box overnight, which school officials discovered on Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Star does not name the boys because they are minors.
Videos and photos of the vandalism showed the N-word and other racial and homophobic slurs, a swastika, the words “F—Jews” and other offensive language spray-painted inside the newsroom.
The stadium, next door to the high school at 6001 W. 159th St. in Overland Park, was closed the following Tuesday to allow the district to assess the damage and paint over the vandalism, officials said.
Principal Charles Golden said in a letter to families earlier this month that “I hate how this has no place at Blue Valley High and is not representative of our Tiger community.”
“We strongly denounce this gross act of hate, which included swastikas along with other hateful racist and homophobic messages,” said Gavriela Geller, executive director of the Overland Park-based Jewish Community Relations Bureau | American Jewish Committee. “The actions are all the more abhorrent given the timing of the incident on Martin Luther King Day, a day when we remember Dr. King’s legacy and are encouraged to improve our communities.”
Shortly after Blue Valley High was vandalized, another Johnson County school reported an incident of racism and hate. Bishop Miege High School and law enforcement agencies are this week investigating a racist social media threat targeting black students at the private Roman Catholic school in Roeland Park.
Roeland Park Police Chief John Morris said the students exchanged photos on Snapchat, which one student edited to add racist and threatening language. A screenshot shared with The Star included a threat of gun violence against black students.
SevenDays, an organization that works to overcome hatred by teaching kindness, said in a statement that both incidents demonstrate there was “much more work to be done.”
“Law enforcement along with school officials are working hard to find out who committed these abusive and harmful acts. We support their efforts to find the perpetrators,” said a statement by Mindy Corporon, president of SevenDays, which came after three people, including Corporan’s father and son, were killed by a white supremacist in 2014. out of Overland Park’s Jewish Sites.”What these authors need most is education to understand why their words and actions are so destructive and how they can bring about change in a positive way.”