A student of color is reportedly behind racist graffiti found Monday morning in a bathroom at a private Catholic all-girls school in Brighton, New York.
Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, a grade 6 through grade 12 school located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, announced Thursday that its investigation into the graffiti containing a racial slur has ended with a student coming forward and taking responsibility for writing the offensive message.
"This school is filled with a bunch of n*ggers. Get out or else!!" the graffiti said.
Mercy said it will not disclose the name of the student who confessed to vandalizing the school bathroom with the N-word graffiti because of its confidentiality practices, WHEC reported. However, the school said that "maximum disciplinary action" has been taken against the student.
"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," Mercy stated.
In the statement sent to Rochester media, Mercy said: "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," the school's press statement concluded.
The investigation was led by the Brighton Police Department.
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."
Several students at the school shared the offending message to @Primetime585, which is the Twitter handle of Karen Iglesia, a local woman who chronicles Section V sports and has developed a close relationship with many high school athletes.
At the beginning of the week, Iglesia posted an image of the racist graffiti on Twitter. "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," Iglesia wrote on Monday afternoon.
Rochester-area radio talk show host Bob Lonsberry tweeted that four sources, including "two in government," said the culprit was an African-American student.
"NOT TRUE… she is HISPANIC… a Hispanic is NOT considered African American is no way!!!" Iglesia responded on Twitter in a quote tweet replying to Lonsberry.
Students had protested outside of the school Tuesday morning. Black Lives Matter and "End Racism" signs appeared at the student-led rally protesting in response to the racist message written in black Sharpie on a Mercy bathroom stall.
At the time, the school's principal, Martin Kilbridge, said that whoever is responsible could face everything from detention to expulsion, WHEC reported.
A spokesperson for Mercy told The Post Millennial that the school has no additional comments other than the statement shared with local media.
"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," Mercy reiterated.