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Blackman students expelled over swastika

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Student cellphone footage of a red swastika, found in a girls' restroom at Blackman High School yesterday. SUBMITTED

Multiple students have been expelled after a red swastika was found in a girls' restroom yesterday at Blackman High School.

"The students responsible for the bathroom vandalism at Blackman High School have been caught, severely disciplined and will face criminal charges," said James Evans, community relations coordinator for Rutherford County Schools, in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

According to Evans, a student discovered the vandalism Tuesday morning before second period and reported it to school officials.

Blackman High School's principal, Dr. Leisa Justus, has sent the following message to parents:

"Yesterday, a student alerted school officials about vandalism with hate enhancement in a girls bathroom stall, which was a swastika made out of toilet paper and fingernail polish. School administration and SROs immediately began investigation, and the perpetrators have been identified. The two female students are being disciplined to the fullest extent of school board and law enforcement policy. The students have been expelled and the school is pursuing criminal charges.

Blackman High School does not and will not accept this type of hate activity. All students are asked to alert school officials immediately if they are subject to any hate and, therefore, criminal activity."

This isn't the first time Blackman High School has dealt with racially inappropriate messages. Last November a threatening note containing a racial slur was found in a locker room.

An assembly was held the following day to address the incident and any other concerns "related to the response from the recent presidential election," said Evans at the time. He confirmed that post-election emotions had led to student conflicts in other schools, but "nothing to this level."

Staff Writer Cat Murphy may be reached at cmurphy@mainstreetmediatn.com.

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