Putnam Valley School District officials are downplaying a politically-charged message written Thursday in a senior’s parking space at Putnam Valley High School, maintaining it was a mistake.
High School Principal Sandra Intrieri and Assistant Principal Matt Mello said in a written correspondence to seniors that one student was not targeting another student in a painted spot that read: “BLM. ACAB. 1312. Even your cop dad.”
BLM stands for Black Lives Matter, while, according to several posts on social media, ACAB stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” It’s unclear what 1312 refers to. It’s a permitted tradition at many high schools for seniors to decorate their parking spots. The message has been erased by school custodians.
“We had a situation today where a student mistakenly painted the wrong spot. Unfortunately, it appeared that a student was targeting another student. That was not the case,” Intrieri and Mello stated. “No harm was intended.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Luft stated on the district website that administrators at the high school were working with the student “regarding the inappropriateness of the message that was originally painted.”
Luft said the student will be given the opportunity to paint the correct parking space “while abiding by the rules that govern the painting of parking spaces.”
“As a school district, we do not tolerate hateful speech of any kind…As an educational institution, we must utilize events like this to educate our students on respectful and appropriate speech and actions,” Luft stated. “This incident is a reminder of the role the district serves in the community and the importance of our work with students to condemn hatred of any kind.”
District officials were criticized by many people on Facebook for their handling of the incident and the apparent lack of punishment given to the student involved.
“That is a pretty poor excuse/apology?! It was intentional,” Linda Kniffen-Wager wrote. “That is not how schools should handle this. Suspension at the very least!”
“So this wasn’t intended to harm?! It was intended as a threat to whoever’s father is a cop. This is so sad,” Sam Cronk wrote.
“Such a cop out response,” John Martens stated.