Hate speech graffiti near Utah school spurs messages of solidarity

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PARK CITY — As students arrived Tuesday morning for class at Park City High School, the cars in the parking lot and the school’s glass windows had positive messages all over them with phrases like “PC stands for all,” “No room for hate in PC” and “Somos unidos” (“We are united.”)

“When I walked in this morning and saw all these messages on the cars, it was so amazing. I felt welcome and safe, and I know other Latino students are feeling it,” said Nayely Velasquez, the president of Latinos in Action at Park City High School.

The idea came as teachers were talking about how to respond after what they called hate speech appeared on the Aspen Villa apartments across Kearns Boulevard from the school.

English teacher Jacob Jobe said the graffiti was reported to Park City police, but in the meantime, the high school faculty got permission from the apartment owners to paint over the message quickly.

“We feel like school is a place where all students should feel safe, and we have a responsibility as teachers to protect the students,” Jobe said.

He said the messages didn’t appear directed at the high school, but it was clearly visible and mentioned Latinos.

“If you are looking outside the window in math and see something hateful, how can you focus,” said Jane Moyes, who is on the student council.

Moyes joined about 10-12 other students at the high school early Tuesday morning to write the positive messages around the parking lot. Senior Grace Mason said as people arrived, more wanted to join in. They said they wanted to counteract any negative feelings that may have come up from students who saw the earlier message across the street. The positive feelings spread.

“I think it’s important to let students know that teachers and faculty and everyone around Park City does support them entirely,” said senior Charlene Rodriquez.

The Park City Police Department said it is investigating the graffiti case on the two residential buildings.


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