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Graffiti found at Service High, including ‘hateful slur,’ prompts restroom closures

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: November 15, 2018
  • Published November 15, 2018

Graffiti discovered Thursday morning at Service High School in Anchorage triggered restroom closures and sweeps as well as locker searches.

One message was similar to written threats found last week at Dimond High School, according to a message sent to Service parents by principal Frank Hauser. The other message "contained a hateful slur," Hauser said.

No arrests have been made in either incident, Anchorage Police Department spokesman MJ Thim said Thursday afternoon.

The graffiti at Service was discovered in the Grant Fraser Memorial Auditorium boys bathroom and in the Lower G boys bathroom, the principal there said.

The school's two resource officers — Anchorage police officers assigned to Service — were at the school during the incident, said APD Lt. Richard Henning, who oversees the school resource officer program. The department called in an additional officer to help out, Henning said.

Police said they couldn't comment on specifics regarding the threats, including whether they appeared to come from the same person or were the result of a copycat crime.

"We look at every threat individually," Henning said.

Asked if police are concerned that publicity about school threats might encourage copycats, he said, "Of course we don't want to encourage that, but we also want to make sure we treat each … report of a threat appropriately and give it the appropriate attention needed to deal with it."

Service on Thursday enacted several changes in response to the threats: locking most bathrooms that are out of camera view; checking other bathrooms for new graffiti every half-hour; and random locker searches through the day.

Last week at Dimond, four threats were found in bathrooms, district officials have said. One read, "I'm shooting up the school, I'm not joking. I have a gun in my lock," according to an email last week from Dimond Principal Tina Johnson-Harris to parents.

The district held a three-hour meeting with concerned parents Monday night. There are no similar meetings planned in light of the Service threats.

Officials are making sure that existing protocols are being followed regarding notifications of students, staff and families when threats are made, district spokeswoman Catherine Esary said. The school board is expected to approve new administrative regulations on the topic at an upcoming meeting.