A noose was found outside an East Bay school, prompting a hate crime investigation, police said.
An Alameda High School resource officer was informed of the discovery around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. A rope was tied into a "small noose" and tied to a fence near tennis courts on Encinal Avenue, school district officials posted on Facebook.
"We are horrified," said Susan Davis with the Alameda Unified School District.
Police said in a statement that they believe the suspect "could have left the rope on display with the intention of threatening another person in the enjoyment of a right secured to him/her by the United States Constitution."
That's why the crime is being investigated as a hate crime.
However, neither police nor administrators know how the noose got there.
"we don't know if it was a student or if it was a community member," Davis said. "There is no evidence at this time that it's a student."
The noose has since been removed, said school district officials, who have notified all the high school students' parents.
"A noose is a powerful symbol of intimidation. Please know that we denounce this kind of symbolic violence in the community," the district wrote on Facebook, urging potential witnesses to come forward.
Alameda has experienced a rash of racial intolerance in the past month: Two broken windows at Temple Israel and flyers featuring a Swastika.
"I don't know why somebody would do that, other than, like, a dumb joke or to spread hate," said Alameda High School student Siosiua Mesui.
Others were equally disappointed.
"I feel like it's some kid trying to get a rise out of us, especially since we are a left-(leaning) community," said student Chelsea Dillacorta.
The school district and police department say they're trying to get to the bottom of the most recent crime, while keeping students focused on school.
"We unequivocally denounce any kind of bigotry, hatred or intolerance," Davis stressed.