CUMBERLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Students at Greely Middle School, which was vandalized with graffiti that contained vulgar images and anti-religious messages, are fighting back against these hurtful actions.
"I was really shocked," stated 8th grader, Emily Braley. "I don't think they understood the severity of what they did."
Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone sprayed green, red and gold paint all over the side of the school, as well as on nearby condominiums. The graffiti contained statements like, 'I hate Jesus', and swastikas, as well as made personal attacks on members of the school's staff.
"It was still hard to believe that our school got vandalized, but it is not just the vandalism....it just really hurts," explained Demetre Fontaine. "They really do impact a lot of people in this community, even people who are not Jews and Christians."
Members of the school's civil rights team decided to take a stand by recording a public service announcement denouncing the vandalism and the messages it contained. They also encouraged all the students at the school to wear their school colors to class on Friday, as well as stickers stating 'I reject bias' as a symbol of unity.
"I can get being angry at teachers, but I don't get how they handled it," said Bhramari Schiff. "You can't hide that there are people like this inside of your school or even outside of your school."
The Cumberland Police Department is aggressively pursuing leads they have developed as part of their investigation, and plans to consult with the State Attorney General's Office to see if those responsible will face enhanced penalties under the state's 'hate crimes' law.
"Our school is a safe place, it is still a safe place," declared Fontaine. "I think I would tell them that they really did something that is not ok and we stand up against that. Like our stickers say, we stand up against bias."