(SACRAMENTO, CA, 3/27/19) – The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) today condemned racist vandalism and a threat of violence made against Vanden High School in Fairfield, Calif.
The Travis Unified School District announced on Facebook on Tuesday that Vanden High School would be closed “out of an abundance of caution” on Wednesday as school officials and Fairfield police investigate a threat of violence. The district and school have not released details on the threat.
Two weeks ago, a swastika and derogatory and racist vandalism referring to a black student, the LGBTQI community and people with disabilities was found on the school’s baseball field walls, according to the NAACP and a police report.
It is unclear whether the two incidents are related.
The parents of a student thought to be targeted in the vandalism held a press conference Wednesday with the NAACP calling for more action to be taken against the suspected vandals.
The school administration agreed not to press charges against the four 18-year-old suspects as long as they paid for the $2,000 in damages, according to the police report.
In a statement, CAIR-SV’s Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem said:
“This disturbing incident shows yet again that we have a long way to go to combat hate in our community. Our children must be able to learn in a safe environment free of hate and violence. We encourage the district and school to take any and all hate-based incidents seriously to protect the safety and well-being of their students.”
Sweilem said the proliferation of these incidents in schools is one of the reasons CAIR-California (CAIR-CA) is supporting Assembly Bill 331, Pupil instruction: high school graduation requirements: ethnic studies.
There was a 17.4 percent spike in California hate crimes from 2016 to 2017, according to a report by the attorney general.
CAIR-CA found a marked rise in anti-Muslim bias incidents in California in 2017, as detailed in its Civil Rights Report. CAIR-CA recorded an 8 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 compared to 2016.
Sweilem urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-SV’s Civil Rights Department at 916-441-6269 or by filing a report athttp://bit.ly/cairsvreport.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SV Communications Manager Kalin Kipling-Mojaddedi, 916-441-6269 or kkipling@cair.com