Officials are investigating threatening graffiti that was found near Topanga Elementary Charter School on two occasions over the last three weeks.
Someone scrawled a message that included a swastika and the phrase, “mass shoot everyone,” on a vinyl banner for a production of “Matilda, the Musical,” which was posted near Topanga School Road and Highway 27 last month, according to a letter from the school’s principal that was sent to families on Thursday.
A student saw the graffiti and reported it to a parent, who took down the banner and brought it to the school office on Nov. 21. There also was a swastika drawn on the button of the pedestrian crosswalk, the letter stated.
Because the banner was not on school property, it was returned to the play’s producer, who reported the graffiti to law enforcement, according to the letter.
Nearly two weeks later, on Tuesday, a student notified the school’s office after finding more graffiti on the Topanga Elementary School sign at the bottom of the hill leading to the campus.
The message read, “Mass shooting” and “all humans are evil,” which was written inside a drawing of a swastika. Parents linked part of the phrase to an online school shooting manifesto, the letter states.
The school immediately contacted law enforcement, prompting a response from Los Angeles School Police and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, according to a statement issued to students and their families shortly after the incident was reported.
“The threat was deemed non-credible and there was no evidence of a direct threat to the school,” the statement read.
The school has arranged for an increased police presence on campus for the duration of the investigation into the origin of the graffiti “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the statement.
“The safety of our students is a top priority, and we will not tolerate hate crimes or violent threats of any kind in LA Unified,” L.A. school board member Nick Melvoin, whose district includes the school, said in a statement. “I am especially saddened when these hateful messages threaten to disrupt a place of learning, just outside the walls where we teach our children every day to act with kindness and compassion.”
Parents are also working with the school’s principal to “complete a professional assessment of the school grounds” and gather ideas for stepped-up security measures, according to the letter sent Thursday.