Edina police suspect three male 15-year-old South View Middle students of spray-painting the school’s walls with 30 to 50 profane, racist and drug-related graffiti tags in early August.
Police developed suspects through video surveillance, tips from the community, analysis of the route along which the damage occurred in the area and school discipline records, the district’s resource officer, Aaron White, said. Two of the suspects admitted their role in the incident about a week after the Aug. 11 vandalism.
They were not formally arrested due to “their age and circumstances,” police said, but the city expects the three teens to be charged soon by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
“Edina prides itself on being an inclusive community for all who live, work or visit. Community reaction to this incident has been shock, disappointment and concern because of the hateful messages spray-painted on the school by the three juveniles,” Edina Mayor Jim Hovland said in a statement. “We will not accept behavior like this that is abusive, intolerant, insensitive or contrary to law.”
Hovland is asking the city departments and Edina's human rights commission to work together to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The school district’s discipline guidelines recommend that students who cause more than $500 in vandalism damage be referred to police, given a 10-day suspension, and recommended for expulsion.The district declined to talk about specifics of the students’ punishments due to their age.