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Police investigating possible hate crime at Caldwell High School

Graffiti with the words 'white power' were sprayed on the side of the building Thursday. The incident comes two days after students hosted a Brown Pride rally.

CALDWELL, Idaho — Police say they are investigating a potential hate crime at Caldwell High School, after the building was tagged with graffiti.

The words "white power" were spray-painted onto the side of the building, along with other symbols that covered a wall, windows, and doors.

In a joint statement, Caldwell PD and the Caldwell School District said the incident happened around 1:15 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Four people wearing dark hoodies and facemasks were seen on security cameras. 

Police say the incident is being investigated as a hate crime, per Idaho code. 

"It's disgusting. It's sad that someone has to do something like that," Alexis Childers, a student a Caldwell High said. "It makes me not want to come to school. Because I know whoever did that is sitting in class right now, smiling, just fine, happy. While the people who saw that and the people that it's directed to are sick to our stomachs. And so am I, it's not okay."

The incident comes two days after a students held a Brown Pride rally at the school

A "Brown Pride" hoodie was the subject of controversy after a student at Caldwell High was asked to turn the hoodie inside-out so the words weren't visible.

The school district says the phrase goes against school policy, and the language violates dress code by being gang-affiliated. 

Students say the phrase is an expression of culture and heritage. More than 50 students showed up for what they called a peaceful protest Tuesday morning. 

Students were encouraged to attend the next school board meeting to talk about the issue. The next Caldwell School Board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13. 

Full statement from the Caldwell School District and Caldwell Police Department:

The Caldwell School District and the Caldwell Police Department are investigating an incident that happened at Caldwell High School at approximately 1:15 am on Thursday, January 19, 2023. Four individuals wearing dark hoodies and face masks were caught on video camera vandalizing Caldwell High School.

Due to the content of the graffiti, the Caldwell Police Department is investigating this incident involving the vandalism at Caldwell High School as a hate crime, per Idaho Code Section 18-7902.

“We will not tolerate hate in our city and will ensure that whoever is responsible for this will be held accountable for their actions,” said Rex Ingram, Caldwell Police Chief.

If you have information about this crime you are asked to call 343-COPS or non-emergency dispatch at 454-7531.

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