Community forum called to discuss MHS vandalism


The Maricopa Unified School District is joining with the Maricopa Police Department, the city of Maricopa and the Maricopa Ministerial Association in a public forum 7 p.m. Wednesday to talk about the graffiti and vandalism that closed the high school Tuesday.

The meeting, expected to last about an hour, will be in the MUSD governing board room, 44150 Maricopa Casa-Grande Highway.

The groups are hosting a community forum “to discuss a unified response to this senseless and potentially divisive act,” according to an announcement by the school district.

“Please show your support for our community and specifically our students by attending this important event,” it stated.

MHS students were sent home Tuesday before school started when staff discovered vandalism and widespread graffiti and tagging with racial overtones

Deputy Superintendent Ember Conley said Tuesday afternoon the graffiti “was across the board. It didn't target any one group.”

Conley said Wesdnesday's meeting is an opportunity to pull the community together and show students “we embrace our cultural diversity and rich heritage, and we want to show our students we take these crimes seriously.”

Classes will resume Wednesday.

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said there was damage to windows in the front office, graffiti on the old gym and graffiti inside and outside on school buildings.

By mid-afternoon, detectives had collected evidence, were reviewing it and following leads, Alavardo said. “We’ve now turned the school back over to the school administration,” he said.

***ADVERTISEMENT***Police are asking anyone with information on the crime to contact Silent Witness at 520-316-6900.

Earlier in the day, Conley said the graffiti was filled with racial innuendo. “Very inappropriate messages were written” on several campus buildings, she said.

As students and staff arrived for classes they were gathered in the football field away from the buildings in accordance with the campus’ emergency plan, Conley said.

The decision was made to send students home “because we knew this would not be an effective learning environment,” Conley said.

MPD brought in K9 units to investigate the scene.

Students leaving the campus said the situation was a bomb threat.

“That's the rumor,” Conley said. “Let's leave it at that; we're taking full precautions.”

About 1,600 students attend MHS.