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Racist graffiti written in bathroom of St. Petersburg Catholic High School

School leaders said they launched an anonymous reporting system for people to send in information.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The president of the local NAACP chapter, in a letter, requested a meeting with the principal of St. Petersburg Catholic High School following an allegation of violent, racist graffiti written on a bathroom wall.

The letter dated Jan. 27 from NAACP St. Petersburg Branch President Esther Matthews to principal Ross Bubolz says, despite him having met with students, the person who wrote the message has not been identified and parents have not been made aware of the incident.

Superintendent Christopher Pastura contends in a statement to 10 Tampa Bay responding to the letter that parents and students had been notified in a Jan. 26 email.

"I write to formally request a meeting in the wake of reported incidents of racism and racial targeting of African American students at St. Petersburg Catholic High School," Matthews wrote to the school principal.

Appearing in a Snapchat photo, the vulgar message includes the "f" and "n" words and a threat to kill people. The principal was told of the message "on or about 1/17/22," the letter reads. It continues that 20-25 Black students met with the principal about the message on Jan. 24 but no parents were notified.

And still, Matthews says, parents have not been told about what happened, and the student body "has not been convened to address the racial tension, and underlying violence 'brewing' on your campus."

Pastura said, in addition to the Jan. 26 email sent to the school community, a follow-up was distributed on Jan. 27 announcing the launch of an online, anonymous reporting system "that had already been in the works." 

The first email to parents said it was unclear how long the graffiti had been on the wall and, so far, the school has not yet been able to identify who wrote it.

School leaders and the St. Petersburg Police Department conclude "there does not appear to be a specific, credible threat to our students."

Matthews requests a meeting "to create a clear plan" about how the school's students can learn about the incident, citing the principal's message to the school community that "students would be cared for" while at school.

"The reported targeting of a race of students, citing hate, violence, creating division and fear is certainly not aligned with 'care' nor does it forge strong Leaders," the letter reads.

In his Jan. 26 email to the school community, Bubolz asked parents to speak with their children.

Remind "them of the seriousness of this issue and the importance of reporting things of this nature immediately," it reads. "We are still seeking information on who is responsible and would greatly appreciate any insight into this matter."