In an email sent to students and parents Tuesday afternoon, Collins Hill High School principal Kerensa Wing said she was disappointed but "not disheartened" by the vandalism and racist graffiti discovered at her school hours earlier.
"As we continue our Thanksgiving break," Wing wrote, "I am not disheartened by this incident as I know that this type of behavior does not define our school community and for that I give thanks."
The graffiti, which school system officials said "included hate speech and referenced the [presidential] election," was discovered early Tuesday at the Suwanee school. Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach described the vandalism as being "primarily on the back side of the building" and in the football stadium.
It included spray painted messages on sidewalks, stadium signage and five separate trailers. Banners in the stadium were also torn down, Roach said.
She did not provide further specifics about the vandalism, but photos sent to Channel 2 Action News and posted on social media showed graffiti that included the word "Trump" and a swastika, as well as slurs directed toward gays, blacks and Hispanics.
Graffiti on one trailer said "build the wall," an apparent reference to president-elect Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall along the country's border with Mexico. Collins Hill has a large population of both black and Hispanic students.
"Maintenance is cleaning up the damage," Roach said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution early Tuesday. "We are reviewing video footage and have contacted the School Resource Officer who will investigate this situation. Our goal is to find out who is behind this damage and prosecute them."
The racially charged incident at Collins Hill is at least the second at a Gwinnett County school since Trump's election earlier this month. On Nov. 11, a Muslim teacher at Dacula High School reported finding a note in her classroom that urged her to hang herself with her headscarf.
A large number of similar incidents have also been reported across the country — and elsewhere in metro Atlanta. At DeKalb County's Cross Keys High School, two teachers have been removed for making disparaging remarks about undocumented residents.
"The graffiti and the hurtful messages that defaced our school were cleaned up fairly quickly," Wing wrote in her email. "That said, it is disappointing that someone left messages filled with hate on our school campus."
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