By Stella Heo and Kayli Harley, Online Editors-in-Chief
// Through racial equity education and community dialogues, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) worked to create an inclusive and supportive school environment. Despite these efforts, possible acts of racially-motivated hate still plague the community.
An unknown perpetrator slashed Campolindo High School’s new Assistant Principal Vanessa Knight’s car tire in the Campolindo parking lot on Friday, Dec. 4 while she was working.
No other cars in the Campolindo parking lot were damaged and the Moraga Police Department is currently investigating whether or not the incident was a racially-motivated hate crime, since Knight identifies as African American.
“The Moraga Police Department is conducting a full criminal investigation into the incident that was reported to us on Dec. 7, 2020. This includes interviews, review of video surveillance recordings in the area, and other elements,” Moraga Police Department Chief of Police Jon King said to Blueprint.
If the Moraga Police Department determines that the incident was a hate crime, there will be legal action.
“As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment on [if it was racially-motivated or not]. If the incident is determined to have been racially-motivated, any involved crimes will be charged as such,” King said.
The incident shocked several community members, especially Campolindo students.
“I was saddened to hear that this happened at my school. Since the beginning of school, we have been learning about race and equality, then our new vice principal who is African American gets this done to her car. It’s truly absurd,” Campolindo junior Jordan Lum said.
While the incident did take place at Campolindo, many community members stress that hate crimes are a district-wide problem.
“This is not a Campolindo problem. This is our broader community,” Acalanes High School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEI) Co-Chair Natasha Kapoor Acuña said. “We need more Black representation or BIPOC representation in our schools and I don’t think our schools have always been a welcoming place for that… We have to make it more welcoming and make someone like [Knight] want to stay because she has so much to offer.”
Although AUHSD took steps to promote inclusivity, community members believe that more must be done.
“At first, you don’t want to believe it, and then reality sets in and you’re like, ‘we still have so much work to do’. There’s still so much hate around us, and I know it’s a small percentage, but they have a loud voice and such hateful actions,” Acuña said.
To prevent more incidents like this from happening, the District plans to continue emphasizing the importance of standing against hate.
“[We’ll prevent incidents like this through] continued education, continued public statements against actions such as this, and continued appeal to the community that it is a community-wide necessity to engage,” Acalanes Principal Travis Bell said. “I think [this event] serves to galvanize us into the felt need to continue to engage in racial equity work and how to make our schools and community more inclusive for all.”
Blueprint and the Moraga Police Department strongly encourage anyone who has information about the incident to call the Moraga Police at 925-888-7055, ext. 0 or the Campolindo High School administration.
Staff Writers Connor Faust, Erin Hambidge, and Lyanne Wang contributed to this article.