In an email distributed to parents Wednesday, Sierra Vista Junior High School officials notified parents that graffiti vandalism had occurred on the school’s campus. The graffiti had been removed by Thursday morning.
Though it’s not exactly clear what the whole message reads, the “Brown Familia” name, a gang in the Canyon Country, was written within the tagging.
“Our campus community was greatly disrespected by unfortunate tagging this morning,” said Sierra Vista Principal Carolyn Hoffman in her email sent to all the school’s parents. “I am writing to inform you that the tagging did not name our school, our district, any individuals and contained no threat of any kind regarding our school campus or students.”
The statement went on to say that school site and district staff have already removed the graffiti, emphasized that school safety remains a primary school for her and her staff, and said that rumors had been circulating about the graffiti, but the the source of those rumors was discovered and later proven to be fabricated, according to Hoffman’s email.
“I communicated directly with all students and emphasized that we need to work together so the last 10 days of school are as positive as the rest of the school year,” said Hoffman. “We are directly working with law enforcement and the individuals responsible for the tagging will be caught and prosecuted.”
District officials re-emphasized Hoffman’s points, but said the investigation into the matter is now in the hands of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials.
“It’s going to become a matter for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as any type of vandalism is going to be investigated by them,” said Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the William S. Hart Union District. “I have no comment on if it’s gang-related or not.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Shirley Miller, a spokeswoman with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said the station’s Career Offender, Burglary, Robbery Apprehension, or COBRA Unit, the team that often deals with gang-related crime, is looking into the matter.
“The detectives with the COBRA Unit say it appears to be gang-related, and that a criminal report was taken for vandalism,” said Miller. “It’s an open investigation … and no one has yet been taken into custody.”
Anyone with information or surveillance video is asked to call Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station COBRA detectives at 661-799-2318 or [email protected]. Anonymous tips about the identity of the suspects can also be relayed through www.LACrimeStoppers.org, or by calling 1-800-222-8477.