5 students to be disciplined for racially charged message taped to Akron locker room door

Posted at 11:10 AM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 06:53:33-05

Akron Public Schools has identified the individuals it believes are responsible for the racially charged message that was found taped to the boy's locker room door at Ellet High School.

The message, made with masking tape, spelled out the words f*** n****** and also included two swastikas.

According to the district, five students are expected to be charged by the Akron police department with misdemeanor criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation in connection to the message. They will also face disciplinary action by the board of education. 

The offensive comments, which have been widely circulated on social media, were found Wednesday afternoon before the Ellet basketball team left for a district semifinal game in Alliance.

The team lost to Warren Harding.

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Mayor Dan Horrigan released a statement:

“Last night’s incident at Ellet High School, which included a racially-charged message and image of a swastika being taped on the door of the Ellet boys basketball team’s locker room, is disturbing, offensive and unacceptable. There is no room in our City for intimidation, hatred, or bigotry of any kind. The Akron Police Department will fully investigate this incident as a suspected act of ethnic intimidation and cooperate with the Akron Public Schools to identify the responsible party or parties, and take appropriate enforcement action. It is essential that all our young people feel welcome, valued and safe in this city and in their school environment. Our diversity is our strength; and acts like this, intended to divide us or incite fear, will never be tolerated in Akron.”

Assistant Ellet basketball coach Monta Smith told News 5 that he wants the incident investigated by Akron police as a hate crime but Akron Public Schools Director of Marketing Communications Mark Williamson says, under Ohio law, the incident would not qualify as a hate crime. 

"The biggest thing that I wanted my team to understand is they didn't attack just the black kids. They attacked us as a team," Smith said.

Smith said his 18-year-old son is a senior on the team and took a picture of the racially charged comment.

"I was immediately taken aback. Are we still dealing with this? Again? We're in 2017 and we're still dealing with this madness."

Akron Lt. Rick Edwards said the police department will work with the district and the school resource officer and the case will be investigated as criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation.