Antisemitic, Homophobic Graffiti in San Diego Public Schools Prompts Call for ‘Civility’
by Dion J. Pierre
Local leaders in Chula Vista, California, denounced hate on Thursday, following the discovery of antisemitic and homophobic graffiti in two public schools.
Causing $2,600 dollars in damage, San Diego-area Bona Vista Middle School and Bona Vista High School were vandalized late Halloween evening, according to the local NBC affiliate, with both acts committed using teal, yellow, and black paint.
At Bona Vista High school, a window was broken, and the messages “Jews” (crossed out with an “X”) and “Mr. Hitler” were daubed on the door of a physics classroom, said the Chula Vista Police Department, which believes both incidents are related and is investigating them as hate crimes.
“The content, the ideation, the messaging, the hate speech directed at people of the Jewish faith and heritage and culture and those in the LGBTQ community is very, very, very disturbing,” commented Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Padilla yesterday. He is an alumnus of both Bona Vista Middle School and Bona Vista High School.
“The damage that was done is to the heart, to the soul. It’s to the cohesiveness of a community, because anytime and anywhere there is hate speech and anytime there is the expression of the idea that a class of people based on who they are or who they love is less than that is a very poisonous and dangerous thing in the world and in any community,” he said.
Fernando Zweifach López Jr., Executive Director of Pride San Diego, called for convening a community symposium of local professionals committed to fight hate.
“Too often we are separated, and we work in silos, and hate and discrimination seek to divide us and destroy us. And the reality is there is no single issue because none of us live in single-issue lives,” he said.
Also speaking Thursday, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said, “I call on all of you: Please, we need a return to civility, we need a return to honoring the democracy of free speech, but free speech that is civil, that is righteous, is just and not used for the purpose of hate or misinformation.”
“Where is all this hate coming from?,” she asked. “What are all these groups doing to you that is diminishing your quality of life? And I think they have to say, ‘Absolutely nothing.'”
Damages to both schools were repaired before students returned to campus Monday, according to an ABC 10 report. Police are asking anyone with information about what happened to contact Dan Peak of the Chula Vista Police Department at 619-585-5670. Chula Vista students can also report anonymous tips using the smartphone application, “Students Speaking Out.”