AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KTLA) — The mother of a student apparently being investigated in connection with hate graffiti found at Agoura High School defended her son on Thursday.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, spoke exclusively to KTLA, and said she feared her son was being used as a scapegoat.
“It’s been emotionally devastating to live with this the last couple of weeks,” she said.
“The rumors going around the school are basically that he did it,” said the family’s attorney, Christoper Ardalan.
Ardalan showed KTLA a picture of hate graffiti from last year on the campus, and said the school was glossing over racial tensions by pointing the finger at a student about to transfer.
“They found the easy target to be able to point the finger at, which was my client, because he had an intention to leave the school,” Ardalan said.
“There’s been no crime charged yet, no evidence put forward, and to throw out those allegations to one of the students that they have a responsibility to protect simply is not fair,” he said.
The first incident was reported on Sunday, May 12, when someone spray painted hate messages on walls at the school.
Then, three days later, students arrived to find a so-called “hit list” spray painted inside a campus restroom with the names of several black students.
School administrators apparently believe that at least one boy whose name was on the list engineered an elaborate scheme to make his campus appear dangerous.
He allegedly wanted to be able to transfer to another school and still participate in sports without delay.
“The determination has been made that there is no racial threat,” the school’s principal, Larry Misel, said in the wake of the incidents.
“Once we’re able to release what we believe to be what is really going on here, then it will be more understandable,” he said.
But the student’s mother said she was appalled by the insinuations made by school officials.
“I just couldn’t believe that they could try to accuse him of the crime when he’s the victim,” she said.
She has since removed her son from Agoura High.
“I didn’t want him to be ridiculed and accused and harassed becasue of all the rumors that have been spread by the administration,” she said.
“Since they’re not taking the racial hate crime seriously, they’re not going to find the real criminals and this will always be hanging over his head,” she said.