The three male Calabasas High School students who admitted to tagging their campus in swastikas, racial slurs and personal attacks will not be prosecuted for a hate crime.

Why? L.A. County sheriff's officials say the graffiti was not, despite appearances, racially motivated — instead just a consequence of “the

subjects feeling they had been mistreated during the school year.”

The anti-semitic (and otherwise hateful) doodles were thrown up around campus last Friday night, right before a Holocaust survivor was set to speak on campus.

That event was quickly canceled, and has since been replaced by the sheriff's special anti-bullying/anti-hate seminar, named Stop Hate and Respect Everyone. It's described as “an award-winning program created to educate members of the community, particularly our youth, regarding the dangers of hate and intolerance.”

The sheriff's newest statement tries to get at the deeper motives behind the tag spree:

We have three students who were angry with a number of fellow students and teachers. …

The words and symbols were not focused on one ethnicity or religion. They included words and symbols that are anti-Semitic, as well as racial insults against African-Americans, and profanities directed at specific students and teachers who had upset them.

Based on the statements of the subjects and the content of their graffiti vandalism, their intent was to upset the people they felt had wronged them, rather than a criminal hate crime.

For video footage of the graffiti, see our original report: “Calabasas High School Hate Crime: L.A. Sheriff Tracks Graffiti Suspects on Facebook.”

The sheriff's investigation also found “no evidence of a racial or religious conflict at Calabasas High School,” a campus composed principally of well-off white kids (including many of Middle Eastern and Jewish descent).

For those who attend or live nearby: What do you think? Is Calabasas High free of racism? Has bullying been a big problem? Let us know.


LA Weekly