Ottawa high school latest target of anti-black graffiti
Louis-Riel high school in Blackburn Hamlet tagged with racist messages on weekend
Administrators with Ottawa's French language school board say they were "shocked" to discover someone had spray-painted racist graffiti at École secondaire publique Louis-Riel in Blackburn Hamlet on the weekend.
The vandalism occurred sometime over the weekend and appeared in several locations on the high school's property.
"The graffitis are heinous words targeted toward the black community of our school," said the board's superintendent of education responsible for Louis-Riel, Amine Aïdouni. "We were shocked to discover what was written, and obviously it goes against everything we stand for."
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Aidouni said the board, Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO), is working with police in their investigation.
"We have made sure to erase the graffiti as soon as we could," Aïdouni said. "The paint was very fresh, so the graffiti came off thankfully fairly easily."
Aïdouni said the board will offer counselling to anyone in the school community who wants to talk about what happened.
The incident is one of three recent incidents of anti-black graffiti currently under police investigation. Ottawa police have closed their investigation into a fourth incident in which someone spray-painted the message "N--gers, out!" on a black family's garage door in the city's east end earlier this month.
It's definitely anti-black hate messaging, obviously it's a hate motivated-crime.- Ottawa police Supt. Chris Renwick
Still under investigation are racist messages including the N-word spray-painted on a path near Blohme Drive in the city's south end, and another case of vandalism to a commercial building near Bank Street and Hunt Club Road.
Police are treating each incident as separate and unrelated for now, though the graffiti has a common message, according to Supt. Chris Renwick.
"It's definitely anti-black hate messaging, obviously it's a hate motivated-crime," Renwick said.
César Ndéma-Moussa, who heads the the anti-racism subcommittee of the police service's Community Equity Council, a community-police liaison group, said the incident involving the high school is particularly troubling.
Ndéma-Moussa said anti-hate advocates and police need to address the issue head-on with students at the school.
"These students have a lot of things to say," said Ndéma-Moussa, who noted police also have to work at building better relationships with young people.