The second week of school at SLA has started off strong with a new batch of aggressive graffiti.
For the past two years, SLA has experienced an increase in the amount of graffiti in and near the school building.
At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, a middle finger was painted on the side of SLA. At the beginning of this school year, a message written under the JFK overpass on 21st Street. with a [misspelled] message: “F— Eververy Cop.”
However, graffiti isn’t new to SLA. Many students in SLA tag and write on walls throughout the school, most commonly in the bathrooms.
Principal Chris Lehmann acknowledged the tagging at SLA, and explained why cleaning up the graffiti isn’t a top priority.
“Some of it has been cleaned up but this piece of the puzzle that is difficult, we need money. We need the supplies to deal with the problem. That is money that we’re not spending on books, supplies on student activities on all of these things.” Lehmann stated.
Students have noticed that the recent graffiti has become less about tagging and more about taking a stance.
Graffiti in SLA’s community has usually been in the bathrooms. Most of which appear to be people’s names and open-ended questions. These two larger instances of graffiti appear to be sending a more specific message. Students may use graffiti as a means to get a message across because they may believe this gets more attention rather than taking an issue up with a teacher directly. In SLA, we are able to express ideas that change SLA positively to adults but we are unable to express negative ideas that attack SLA to adults.
Senior Jayla Wright offered a different view over the controversy.
“They both seem sorta silly so it’s unclear whether they’re jokes or if they’re actually serious.” Wright stated.
The mystery of who created the graffiti on the side of the school last year will have to remain a mystery. This is due to the fact that the staff wants to refrain from exposing the creator (or creators) believing that this would cause too much commotion. As for the anti-police graffiti this year, there is no evidence it was created by an SLA student, apart from the fact that it appeared at the start of the school year.
Project Coordinator Jeremy Spry does has one theory about the graffiti under the overpass.
“I definitely don’t think it was an SLA student because the word “every” was spelled wrong.”
Though graffiti isn’t SLA’s top priority, the faculty and staff, as well as the students, see the graffiti as an issue. Spry went on to explain that the graffiti is a problem but there are larger issues, such as holes in walls, that trump smaller issues like writing in the bathroom. However, maybe the graffiti is a way of expression, maybe graffiti should be viewed how Wright looks at it.
“Graffiti can be drawings, typography, or just phrases but their existence itself is a crime typically. But graffiti being a crime may be a part of why it’s art. That controversy gives graffiti more meaning.”