Hudson teens face charges in racist graffiti incident at middle school athletic field
Young people admit to spray painting messages at property, but deny writing racial slurs
HUDSON — Four juveniles who live in the city are facing misdemeanor charges in connection with obscene and racist graffiti that was spray painted at the middle school’s athletic field in late May.
A 17-year-old girl, two 15-year-old girls and a 14-year-old boy are each charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing. Those charges were filed against the juveniles at various times during the first two weeks of June. The 17-year-old’s case is being adjudicated through Summit County Juvenile Court, while the other three young people are being required to pay restitution and complete a juvenile diversion program, according to the police report.
One of the 15-year-olds charged told police the other teens were responsible for spray painting graffiti, including a racial slur, on the press box at Lavelli Field, 65 N. Hayden Parkway, and on the property below the bleachers.
The police report stated that all four juveniles admitted to spray painting graffiti at Lavelli Field and two admitted to spray painting obscene words, but none of them took responsibility for the racial slurs.
A Hudson resident on May 29 went to the police station and reported “the harassment of her 15-year-old daughter in the form of graffiti,” at Lavelli Field.
The resident told police that her 15-year-old daughter had faced “ongoing harassment from some local teenage girls,” including two of the girls charged in the case.
The resident told police the harassment “goes back to an incident that took place between the girls last year involving racial comments made at the high school,” the police report stated.
The resident told officers that she made the report after one of the three girls who ended up being charged sent her daughter a photo showing the other two girls spray painting the graffiti, according to the police report.
The photo showed two of the girls holding spray paint cans with a profane message directed toward the reporting resident’s 15-year-old daughter and a racial slur spray painted on the press box wall, the police report said. It appeared an effort had been made to cross out the daughter’s name, but it could still be seen, the officer said in his report. The police officer who filed the report said he visited Lavelli Field and located the same graffiti shown in the photo. A racial slur was also spray painted on property below the bleachers at Lavelli Field, the report stated.
An investigation determined the boy who was charged had also been at the field, and he admitted spraying some of the graffiti.
School district dealt with another racial incident last fall
In October, the district reported a disciplinary incident involving teenage girls in a high school bathroom.
At the time, Hudson Superintendent of Schools Phil Herman said the district “will not tolerate words and/or actions that constitute racism or discrimination in any form. Such acts are deplorable, devastating, contrary to our school district’s values, and tarnish all humanity.”
Herman said in October the incident involved several female students in a high school bathroom “when racially offensive language was being used. An African American student entered the bathroom and overheard and continued to hear the racially offensive language.”
He said two of the students then left the restroom and leaned against the bathroom door to prevent the students inside from leaving.
At the time, Herman said the administration was working with the police department “regarding inappropriate and threatening social media posts directed at the African American student, as well as investigating other social media activity which occurred over the weekend.”
He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
It is not known whether the October 2019 incident and the May 2020 incident are connected.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.