Mercy student takes responsibility for graffiti with racial slur, school says

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women Thursday announced that its investigation into the graffiti containing a racial slur that was found in a bathroom on Monday morning ended with a student coming forward and taking responsibility for writing the offensive message.

The graffiti said, "This school is filled with a bunch of n*****s Get out or else!!" Students at the school sent the message to Primetime585, the social media handle of Karen Iglesia, a local woman who chronicles Section V sports and who has a close relationship with many high school athletes as a result. She shared an image of the graffiti on Twitter, saying, "My inbox was flooded today from @OLM_HSgirls. This note was written in the bathroom and they had issues on how the administration dealt w/ it. They (many athletes- all WHITE) begged me to post it because they were so upset at how trivial the school made it. #studentplatform"

Students also protested outside of the school on Tuesday morning.

Mercy said it will not disclose the name of the student who confessed to the vandalism because of its confidentiality practices. It said maximum disciplinary action has been taken.

It sent the following email to Rochester media:

"Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women has concluded our thorough investigation into the racist graffiti incident that was brought to our attention early Monday morning. The investigation was led by the Brighton Police Department with full cooperation of Mercy administration and faculty. During the investigative process, one of our students confessed to writing the graffiti in the girls bathroom. For legal reasons, and in accordance with Mercy’s confidentiality practices, the student will not be identified. Mercy has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior; appropriate and maximum disciplinary action has been taken.

"Even though closure has come to this single incident, there is so much more work to do to understand what people are feeling and fearing. Our students and our community are distressed and hurt; Mercy will work to help heal the wounds caused by this incident, as well as help heal deep-rooted, related feelings this incident has brought to the surface. Consistent with the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, we are planning events and initiatives in the coming weeks to recognize and acknowledge the powerful emotions that are present within our community. We are a compassionate institution, built on a foundation of faith, hope, and love and made strong by the resilience of our students, families, faculty, staff, and everyone within the Circle of Mercy. The road ahead will not be easy, but our love for each other and our school will light the way."

Mercy did involve the Brighton Police Department in the investigation.

Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said, "We have shared the results of our investigation with OLM. They have decided to handle the matter internally and not pursue criminal charges. Therefore, we will not further identify the person."