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‘Hateful and malicious’ homophobic slur investigated at Carroll County high school

A parent of a Francis Scott Key High School student said her son’s parking space at the Union Bridge school was vandalized with a homophobic slur.

The senior recently paid to have his parking space personalized with an illustration. However, Lisa Walters of Taneytown said her son noticed a slur spray painted on top of the artwork on Monday. According to the school, the slur has since been covered up and the incident is now being investigated.

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Carey Gaddis, spokesperson for Carroll County Public Schools, said “we certainly do not condone this type of behavior and it is currently being investigated.”

Cpl. Jon Light of Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday the investigation is still active and no suspect or suspects have been identified. He added the vandalism occurred between Friday and Monday morning and only one parking space was defaced.

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Principal Shannon Mobley sent a letter to parents Tuesday acknowledging the vandalism and calling it “a hateful and malicious message.”

“Vandalism like this is a painful reminder of how much work we must continue to do to become a safe, supportive, and inclusive school free of hate and intolerance,” Mobley said. “We remain committed to this work and will move forward in our efforts to provide opportunities for students to learn from one another and gain a deeper understanding of each other to create an atmosphere of acceptance and awareness.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the school’s administration, Master Deputy Robert Cromwell, the school resource officer, or text the tip line at 240-741-7036, Mobley said.

Walters said her son never experienced this type of bullying but said he has been called names by other students. She said her son is not gay, but is perceived as being “less masculine by other kids in his class.”

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She said her oldest son, who is gay, has also experienced bullying at FSK.

“This is not the first time something like this happened and it is not going to be the last time,” Walters said.

She raised concerns about the school’s climate, mentioning allegations made against Francis Scott Key High School boys lacrosse players who were accused of directing racial slurs at a Manchester Valley player during a May game.

“Key does not have a good reputation for this,” she said. “It’s very clear that kids that are different are not welcome, whether that be by their race, their creed or their sexuality.”

Walters said on Monday her son would not let this incident deter him from attending school, especially because he does not want to miss class at the county’s career and technology center.

“We’re certainly not going to lose an opportunity because of someone else’s ignorance,” she said.

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