By Jan Carabeo, Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A message of hate was spray painted on the door of a Catholic School in Center City early Thursday morning.

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A passerby spotted the slur on the front door of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School on 19th and Wood Streets just before 1 a.m. The slur was spray painted in the middle of two crosses.

The passerby notified CBS3 Eyewitness News, who then called police.

Police searched the building to see if there were any more slurs on the school, but they tell CBS3 the one slur is all that was found.

The school’s maintenance supervisor, Phil Moyer, describes the graffiti as four or five inches, gold and silver spray paint and believes it came shortly after a school activity took place:

“We had a volleyball tournament until nine o’clock and they had what they call senior night and it was people in and out and it was fine, so it happened somewhere, I’d say after 10.”

Moyer has since cleaned up the slur, so when kids arrived to school Thursday morning, it was no longer visible.

“Every once in awhile we do get graffiti, but we never had that type of graffiti and I was kind of surprised,” Moyer said.

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Police are now looking for evidence that may have been left behind as well as at surveillance footage as they continue to try to determine who did this and why.

There is a camera right in front of the school, but investigators say that video isn’t very good.

On Thursday afternoon, school officials released a statement that reads:

Very early this morning, the administration of John W. Hallahan Catholic High School for Girls was made aware that a racial slur had been spray painted on the front doors of the school. This act of hate speech and vandalism was discovered by a custodian when he reported for work this morning. Hallahan takes pride in its designation as a “No Place for Hate” school and strongly condemns this senseless and hateful act. School staff took immediate action and the doors were cleaned prior to the arrival of students.

Additionally, school administration has reported the incident to police and is hopeful that surveillance cameras will assist in identifying the responsible party. All school families have been made aware of this incident and the steps taken to address it through a letter sent this morning.

An investigation is ongoing.

 

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