MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Parents and students on edge after several Shelby County high schools are tagged with threatening graffiti. As a precaution, SCS leaders brought in extra security before and after school.
Local 24 found graffiti evidence at 3 SCS high schools; Whitehaven, Ridgeway, and White Station. White Station administrators said four people sprayed vulgar messages at the school's front entrance. The graffiti is now gone after a power spray earlier today.
While district leaders said the graffiti is not connected to any active threats, the messages startled and angered parents across Memphis.
“I take it very seriously,” said White Station parent Latisha Blackburn.
For Blackburn, seeing her son walk safely to her car Tuesday afternoon carried extra weight and relief.
“It's terrifying to see those kinds of things going on at my child's school, so yeah, that's why I'm here,” said Blackburn. “It was terrifying once I found out about it and so, yeah, I am a concerned parent, I love my child, I'm worried I'm about his wellbeing.”
Late Tuesday morning after dropping off their students, Blackburn and other White Station parents found out in an email and phone message that vandals tagged the front marquee with these threatening messages.
“It's terrible,” said White Station parent Rhonda Steele.
“You have to look at everything little thing, you can't take anything lightly,” said White Station parent Anthony Gentry. “Of course it's concerning, but you think about, is something deeper going on?”
Students walked by the cleanup and crime scene between classes, and parents weren't pleased.
“I think it should be taken seriously with all that's going on in the world,” said White Station parent Tia Newsom. “It could lead to something else, it could be a sign.”
White Station wasn't the only school affected. Local 24 witnessed similar graffiti damage at Ridgeway and Whitehaven high.
SCS leaders said students are safe and authorities said they don't have any evidence of active threats at any schools.
“I don't understand it, I can't for the life of me grasp what would make you want to school and want to write on the building, that if you were in school, you wouldn't even want to write on paper,” said Whitehaven parent Sonya Regular. “It's just ridiculous.”
“I mean, what do you do? You can't keep your child at home, they have to go school, so you know, what do you about it? You just worry, worry,” said White Station parent Ella Carnes.
The White Station graffiti happened underneath a security camera.
The vandalism there followed another threat Sunday when authorities committed a 17-year-old accused of making a threat of violence at White Station. The FBI assisted Memphis Police and we are told the teenage boy is not a White Station student.
SCS released the following statement on the graffiti:
“We are hearing that several SCS schools have been vandalized with threatening messages. Please know that all of our students are SAFE. Authorities are still investigating the reports, but there have been no incidents connected to the vandalism today in any of our schools. As a precaution, there will be increased District Security around our schools today to ensure the safety of students. Again, our students are SAFE, and authorities have shared no evidence of any active threats involving our schools. Schools will be sending additional information to families this afternoon.”
SCS released the following regarding the White Station threat this weekend:
“We were made aware Monday by authorities that someone was arrested over the weekend for a threat involving White Station High School. This individual is not a student at the school. The safety of our schools is always our top priority, so we are assuring families that authorities have handled this situation.”