Pleasant Valley HS students offered $500 reward for information about ‘hateful’ bathroom graffiti

Bathroom sign

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Staff at Pleasant Valley High School are trying to figure out who left offensive graffiti in a bathroom at the school.

Principal Mike Zimmer said the graffiti consisted of a poem written in pencil that was offensive to those of several different races, sexual orientations, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

The graffiti was discovered on Thursday, November 29 while a custodian was cleaning a men’s bathroom.  Zimmer said that’s when he was made aware of the “hateful and bigoted” graffiti; it was written on the wall inside a stall and has since been cleaned up.

“It was something I was extremely upset about,” he said.

The bathroom was closed and Zimmer said it would remain closed until the person or people responsible were found.

Zimmer said he made an announcement to the students on Friday morning, reminding them of the school’s tolerant and welcoming values. He mentioned a recognition they received in 2017 about being the “Most Inclusive High School in America by Varsity Brands.” That recognition landed them a $10,000 award that PVHS turned into a scholarship fund.

“It is against this background that I want to express my outrage at the most recent incidences that have occurred this fall,” Zimmer said in his announcement. “I have had to address derogatory comments made to one of our Hispanic students by his “so called” friends during a football game, investigated anti-Semitic comments made in our hallways and replaced or expunged surfaces containing hateful speech and symbols.”

He said any students found making threatening drawings or comments would “face school discipline consequences up to and including expulsion.”

Students were urged to come forward with any information about the message.   A $500 reward was being offered to any student who offered information leading to the discovery of those responsible.  He said more than a dozen students offered information after the announcement.

According to Zimmer a handful of teachers in the school said the announcement about the incident made for good classroom conversation.