3 teens charged after Blue Valley school defaced with racist, antisemitic vandalism
Three teenagers have been charged after Blue Valley High School was defaced with racist, homophobic and antisemitic slurs earlier this month.
The teens — two from Overland Park, ages 16 and 17, and a 16-year-old from Excelsior Springs — have been charged in Johnson County court with felony burglary and criminal property damage. They are accused of vandalizing and damaging Blue Valley High School’s football stadium and press box overnight, which school officials discovered on Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Star is not naming the teens because they are minors.
Videos and photos of the vandalism showed the N-word and other racist and homophobic slurs, a swastika, the words “F--- Jews” and other offensive language spray-painted inside the press box.
The stadium, next to the high school at 6001 W. 159th St. in Overland Park, was closed the following Tuesday to allow the district to evaluate the damage and paint over the vandalism, officials said.
Principal Charles Golden said in a letter to families earlier this month that, “Hate like this has no place at Blue Valley High and is not representative of our Tiger community.”
“We strongly denounce this serious act of hate, which included swastikas alongside other hateful racist and homophobic messages,” said Gavriela Geller, executive director of Overland Park’s Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee. “The actions are even more abhorrent given the timing of the incident on Martin Luther King Day, a day where we remember the legacy of Dr. King and are encouraged to improve our communities.”
Shortly after Blue Valley High was vandalized, another Johnson County school reported an incident of racism and hate. Bishop Miege High School and law enforcement this week are investigating a racist social media threat targeting Black students at the private Roman Catholic school in Roeland Park.
Roeland Park Police Chief John Morris said students had been exchanging photos on Snapchat, which a student edited to add racist and threatening language. One screenshot shared with The Star included a threat of gun violence against Black students.
SevenDays, an organization that works to overcome hate by teaching kindness, said in a statement that both incidents show there is “a lot of work left to do.”
“Law enforcement authorities along with school officials are hard at work to find who committed these hurtful and damaging acts. We support their efforts to find the perpetrators,” said a statement from Mindy Corporon, president of SevenDays, which was formed after three people, including Corporan’s father and son, were killed by a white supremacist in 2014 outside Jewish sites in Overland Park. “What those perpetrators need most is education to understand why their words and deeds are so destructive and how they can make change in a positive way.”