Loyola Blakefield Shut Down Today Due to Racist Graffiti in Bathroom

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Photo by Tbresch, via Wikimedia Commons

Hate speech, not Wednesday night’s snow, pushed administrators at Loyola Blakefield to call off classes today.

Someone scrawled a hate-laced message targeting African-Americans – “No n*****s better come on Thursday” – this week inside a bathroom stall at the all-boys Catholic school, according to an email sent out to Loyola Blakefield parents and shared by WJZ reporter Devin Bartolotta.

School leaders deemed the language serious enough to cancel classes for the day. They made the call “out of an abundance of care for our community,” said a statement provided by school spokesman Robert Robinson.

“We are heartbroken and outraged by this attack on the respect and dignity of members of our community, especially our African American members who were targeted by this hateful message,” Loyola Blakefield president Anthony Day said in a statement. “We will discover who did this, and they will no longer be a part of our community.”

Administrators reported the graffiti to Baltimore County police, who are now investigating. Officer Jennifer Peach, a department spokeswoman, told Baltimore Fishbowl police are “working with the administrators and reviewing all surveillance video,” and will be conducting interviews to build leads and identify suspects.

Alumni have responded in solidarity, some of them by changing their Facebook profile photos to a logo with the school’s signature L and the characters “No H8.”

Frank Gallagher, a 1977 graduate of Loyola Blakefield, said the graffiti is “a complete 180 on everything the school stands for.” He learned about the incident in a letter sent to alumni this afternoon.

“I was certainly sad to read about it, because I think that racist graffiti is totally contrary to the Jesuit tradition,” he said. “But I’m pleased to see that the school is dealing with it decisively.”

The hateful scrawling isn’t the first race-related controversy affecting Baltimore’s private schools this semester. Photos that circulated online after Halloween weekend depicted a Boys’ Latin School alumnus wearing an orange jumpsuit with “Freddie Gray” written across his back, and two students, one from the Gilman School and the other from Roland Park Country School, also wearing prisoner garb for costumes and making supposed gang signs, with a hate-tainted caption to boot.

Private school alumni responded by holding a demonstration in the median along Roland Avenue, calling it a “rally in support of schools standing up against racism.”

Peach said this was the first time Loyola Blakefield has reported any hateful graffiti to the police department, though she said administrators have handled multiple similar incidents internally in the past.

Robinson, the Loyola Blakefield spokesman, didn’t respond to an email requesting more info.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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