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SchoolWatch: Ashland High School mural vandalized, school officials say

Administrators sent a message to families about the vandalism of 'The BIPOC of the Rogue Valley Celebration' mural outside of the school.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 12:44 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2021 5:38 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — Administrators at Ashland High School notified families on Tuesday that a mural on campus was vandalized with spraypaint, but they've been thus far unable to find the culprit.

The vandalism was discovered last Friday on a mural that students and staff have been working on for months, facing toward Mountain Avenue.

Ashland High School's Truth to Power Club received permission from the City of Ashland to install the mural “The BIPOC of the Rogue Valley Celebration” in August (screenshot of AHS Truth to Power website).

"We are extremely disappointed that someone vandalized the school," wrote AHS principal Benjamin Bell. "Everyone has been working hard to make sure the school is safe, clean, and welcoming. Now, resources have had to be diverted to clear the graffiti. We have already planned strategies to deter future vandalism, but the current damage is very frustrating and difficult to understand."

The vandalized mural was one imagined by the school's Truth to Power Club, which they were authorized by the City of Ashland to install in August. The mural, called “The BIPOC of the Rogue Valley Celebration,” was conceptualized partly as a tribute to former AHS student Aidan Ellison, the Black teenager who was shot and killed outside of Stratford Inn during November of 2020.

"Every act of vandalism at the school has harmful impacts on students’ sense of safety," Bell continued. "In this instance, the Celebrating BIPOC of the Rogue Valley mural was affected. Even though we do not think the intent was specifically racially motivated, there is clearly an additional negative impact on BIPOC students & staff, and all the AHS students, staff, and community members who have been dedicating many hours outside of the school day since January to create the mural."

Bell asked that anyone with information about who caused the damage to contact him, saying that the school administration would consider using a "restorative justice approach" for the parties responsible when they are identified.

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