AUSTIN (KXAN) — A local synagogue hosted an event Saturday to address a recent incident at Anderson High School, where offensive, racist words and symbols were painted across several student parking spots.
Congregation Agudas Achim hosted the gathering on Saturday. It and local Austin leaders and school officials condemned the vandalism.
“The antisemitic, racist, and homophobic graffiti at Anderson High School is more than just vandalism,” wrote Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde. “It was a reminder that the work of making Austin ISD a safe, inclusive place is never completed, and the community’s response is proof that the ugly graffiti does not represent who we are. There is no place for hate at Anderson High School or any other school in the Austin Independent School District, and the graffiti is an insult to the great work our teachers, administrators, and staff do every day to make sure every student feels safe at school.”
In a letter sent to parents, Principal Sammi Harrison said the graffiti was painted on five student parking spots and a storage shed. The graffiti pictured depicted antisemitic symbols, racist words and offensive imagery.
“AISD maintenance and our custodians responded quickly to remove the markings,” Harrison said in the letter. “AISD police and Anderson administration continue working to identify the individuals involved.”
Austin City Council Members Alison Alter and Greg Casar weighed in on the graffiti online as well.
Congregation Agudas Achim said it hosted high school students to join the congregation at 12 p.m. for a “supportive, uplifting presence together.” Discussion followed the lunch.
“I think the Anderson community has felt this shock beyond just the students,” said student Ford McCracken. “We have a large Jewish population in the neighborhood and to see something this obscene plastered on school property is shocking and insulting. After an act of vandalism similar to this has now happened for the 4th year in a row at Anderson, I encourage the school to implement better security measures in the tennis court/parking lot area.”
“These acts of hate will not be tolerated,” Harrison said.
AISD said all markings have been covered since then. Elizalde said any student who feels targeted or unsafe because of these images should reach out to their school’s counselor for support.
Austin police are investigating.