Authorities in Maryland are pursuing hate crime charges against four high school students accused of plastering swastikas and other offensive graffiti on the grounds of Glenelg High School this week.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the hateful imagery and epithets were discovered spray painted on school walls, sidewalks and parking lot on Thursday. School staff reportedly first discovered the graffiti early that morning.
Authorities identified four suspects, arresting three of them — Seth Taylor of Glenwood, Tyler Curtiss of Brookeville and Joshua Shaffer of Mount Airy — at the high school.
The fourth suspect, Matthew Lipp, was arrested by police at his home in Woodbine.
School officials did not immediately confirm whether the students were members of the class soon to graduate from the high school. At least some of the graffiti appeared to directly reference their black principal, David Burton.
Superintendent Michael J. Martirano issued a clear rebuke of the behavior in a statement to reporters this week.
“We will not tolerate this in Howard County,” he said, emphasizing the importance of making sure “our children are safe and protected” while they are in school.
“No child, no staff member, within our inclusive community should ever feel any form of threat or harassment or any form of hate,” Martirano added.
Maryland State Police reports indicate a similar hate crime was reported at the school last year. Eight swastikas and a racial slur were allegedly left scrawled on the walls of a bathroom.
Burton addressed the incident during a school assembly Thursday morning, which ended in a standing ovation for the principal, according to police.
[Featured image: Tyler Curtiss, Matthew Lipp, Joshua Shaffer, and Seth Taylor/Howard County Police Department]