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Person confesses to vandalizing bathroom with racist messages, symbols at local high school

FORT MILL, S.C. — School officials are investigating after someone vandalized a bathroom with racist words and symbols at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, according to a letter sent to families.

“I walked in, and I ended up seeing this writing,” sophomore Andrew Coffee said. “I was very unsettled, especially being in high school.”

The vandalism was reported to school administration at around lunchtime Monday.

“The actions of these individuals do not define who we are as a school family. We have a responsibility to ensure that all of our students feel like they belong and feel safe at school,” Principal Chris Chandler said in a letter to families.

Officials said the person responsible for the vandalism has confessed, and will face disciplinary and legal action.

The school said it is investigating the incident in coordination with the school resource officer.

Arlethia and Tim Hailstock found out about the graffiti from one of their sons who attends Nation Ford.

“They have grown up in predominately white areas their entire lives, right? Tim Hailstock said. “So, we have to talk to them really what it means to be Black and how to navigate this world, as such.”

Arlethia Hailstock said she was shocked and angry.

“I saw this, not just as vandalism, but as a racist threat,” Arlethia Hailstock said. “He said, ‘The South shall rise again,’ and I don’t think we need to read between the lines to figure out what that means.”

No other details have been released at this point. Return to this story for updates.

Below is the full letter sent to families:

“Dear Nation Ford Families,

I want to discuss the racist vandalism that occurred yesterday in two of our bathrooms. It’s no secret that we have had issues with our bathrooms this year, but yesterday’s incident went beyond awful. We are a school that prides itself on our diversity, and on making sure that all students feel like they belong to the school family. Yesterday’s incident made some of our students feel unsafe, and that is not who we are as a school family.

We are actively investigating the incident along with law enforcement. Anyone caught vandalizing our school will be put up for expulsion and charged by law enforcement. Anyone caught using racial slurs or hate speech will be punished to the fullest extent possible. We have asked our students to let us know if they see or hear anything about these incidents. They should tell us even if they think it is just a rumor.

We will also have a larger adult presence in the bathrooms, but we know that it is difficult to monitor them completely. This is why it is important for students to help us out. Please talk to your student about what is happening and encourage them to let us know if they hear or see anything.

The actions of these individuals do not define who we are as a school family. We have a responsibility to ensure that all of our students feel like they belong and feel safe at school. We will continue to investigate these incidents and we will continue to work on ensuring that all of our students feel valued at Nation Ford High School.

Sincerely,

Chris Chandler”

(WATCH BELOW: Chester Co. Schools take action after racist videos made by some students circulate on social media)