Offensive Language, Swastikas Scrawled on School District Vehicle in Castro Valley

Authorities in Castro Valley opened a hate crime investigation after a school district truck was marred with racist graffiti and damaged, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday.

The truck, which was housed at Canyon Middle School, was marked with words consisting of "disparaging and offensive racial remarks against members of our Jewish and African American Communities" in permanent black marker, according to sheriff's department spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly. Swastikas were also scrawled on the vehicle, and a window of the car was smashed.

The vandalism prompted parents to gather on a street corner on Wednesday and hoist signs reading "Castro Valley Stands UNITED Against Hate" into the air. 

"This community has spoken," Castro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said. "This community has said we will not stand for hate."

Michael Kusiak doesn't have a student attending the school, but when he heard about the vandalism, he created the anti-hate signs and passed them out to families as they dropped off their children.

"Whoever is being targeted by it, they need to know that they're defended," he said.

No one witnessed the crime, but authorities are taking a look at surveillance footage as part of their ongoing investigation, according to Kelly.

"We take crimes of this nature seriously," Kelly wrote in a statement. "Racist and offensive vandalism will not be tolerated in our schools."

Kelly added that the vandalism has not morphed into any credible threats against students and school staff. Student Liliana Crawford said she felt comfortable coming to campus.

"The sheriff is here and everybody is here to protect the kids so, yeah, I feel safe," she said.

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