Monticello High School bathroom graffiti incident still under investigation

An incident involving racist statements written on a door inside a bathroom stall at Monticello High School remains under investigation by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Superintendent Jim Johnson and Capt. Sean Deringer provided additional details about the incident, which was reported by a male student Friday, May 5.

Johnson said the student reported that there was a racial statement written in a stall in one of the bathrooms at the High School. MHS Principal Mike Carr investigated the report and found the graffiti.

The bathroom was locked at that time and the graffiti was removed, Johnson stated in an email.

“We continue our investigation into the incident but have not been able to identify who wrote it,” Johnson stated.

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the investigation, Johnson added. Deringer said the incident was reported to the MHS resource officer on Monday, May  8.

MHS staff was made aware of the incident through a student’s social media post that had been posted on May 5.

According to Deringer, school staff had to look twice to spot the graffiti because it was not readily visible and was blocked by a hinged door on the bathroom stall.

The bathroom was reopened after the damaged walls were cleaned up. Due to the damage not being readily visible, there was no way to narrow down the time as to when it could have been done. This bathroom is in a high traffic area.

At this time there are no suspects and the graffiti case is pending information or leads as to the identity to the person(s) responsible for the damage, Deringer stated in an email.

“We want all students to know they are a valued part of our school community and that this type of statement or behavior will not be tolerated,” Johnson’s wrote in a statement. “We work hard to create an inclusive culture where students feel supported.”

The following message was sent to the parents of all MHS students Monday afternoon, Johnson reported:

“We are very proud of all of our students who make good choices and are good citizens in school and as well as in our community. Late Friday afternoon, we were made aware of vandalism in one of our bathrooms that was very racially offensive. Once we are notified of this type of vandalism, our policy is to immediately close down the bathroom until the issue can be investigated and corrected. We want our school to be a welcoming place for all of our students and we appreciate the efforts of the majority of our students who act in that manner. If you notice any damage or graffiti anywhere in our school, please notify the office immediately so we can take care of the issue as soon as possible. Thanks to all of you for being a part of the solution to keep our school a wonderful venue for all of our students and for making Monticello High School a place in which we can all be proud.”

Johnson also reported school staff met with classes last week to address the issue. The following times were scheduled in the auditorium: Ninth Grade, Tuesday, from 2:30 p.m. to 2:40 p.m., 12th grade, Thursday, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 10th grade and 11th grade, Friday, from 10:55 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]