Teen arrested on suspicion of spray-painting racist, homophobic slurs at San Dieguito Academy High School

The teen — a 16-year-old student at the school — is suspected of walking onto campus and defacing the administration building on Jan. 1


A 16-year-old student was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 1, and accused of spray-painting homophobic and racist slurs at San Dieguito Academy High School, causing hundreds of dollars in damage, sheriff’s officials said.

(File photo)

The teen — a student at the school — is suspected of walking onto the Santa Fe Drive campus and defacing the administration building just before 4 a.m. on Jan. 1, sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Michalke said. The vandalism caused about $725 in damage.

The teen was released to his parents, Michalke said. The department did not reveal any other details about the suspect.

The incident marked the second time racist slurs had been painted on campus property in recent months. In November, someone graffitied the n-word at the school. No suspects have been identified in that case.

After the vandalism in January, about 150 people gathered for a news conference and rally at the school to demand that district officials do more to root out hatred and discrimination.

San Dieguito Union High School District serves 13,000 students in middle and high school. A majority of the students are White, but the district has become increasingly diverse in recent years.

Per the 2020 census data recently released to the SDUHSD board to draw its district map in January about 67% of the district’s students are White, 14% are Asian, 11% are Hispanic/Latino, 5.7% are multiracial and less than 1% are Black.

Since Fall 2020, some San Dieguito students have requested that the district do more to embrace diversity. Cheryl James-Ward, who has been superintendent since Nov. 1, said the district has been working to address racism and cultivate an inclusive environment.

— Encinitas Advocate reporter Karen Billing contributed to this report