Graffiti sprayed on Rockford seniors’ pro-police parking spots

Kent County

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — The incoming senior class at Rockford High School has been able to paint their parking spaces for a few years now. This year, a pair of spaces has caused a stir.

A couple of seniors who have family in law enforcement discovered twice this week that their spaces, painted with “Thin Blue Line” themes, had been tagged with “Black Lives Matter” graffiti.

“It was eye-opening, really,” said Olivia Carey, a senior at Rockford High School. “I mean, we all just thought we were painting spots and trying to just do what we wanted and then we had to deal with this for the last few days, which is kind of disappointing.”

After hearing about it on social media, some people came out to help put the parking spaces to rights.

A student spray-paints over graffiti that was painted on a parking space reserved for a Rockford High School senior. (July 31, 2020)

“I feel there’s a lot of negativity in our community right now,” said Cory Novak, a parent with four kids in Rockford schools. “It’s an ‘us versus them’ type of thing and that’s just not how it should be.”

She went with her son to help paint over the graffiti.

“I never do anything hoping to get rewarded or recognized,” Novak added. “I do this because this is the way it should be, period.”

So far, there has not been a police report filed. The school plans to handle the situation on its own.

“If it becomes too much of a distraction, maybe it’s something we have to re-evaluate,” said Dan Zang, the principal at Rockford High School. “But I’m hoping and praying that goodness is going to rise. Our kids are going to rebound from this — if it truly is kids doing it. We don’t know if it’s kids doing it at this point.”

He said the school’s security team is coming up with solutions.

“We may have to start securing the parking spots at night,” Zang said. “If that’s what we have to do, then I guess that’s what we’re going to have to do. It’s sad that we’re at this place right now. And again I’m confident, I’m hopeful that our students and community are going to rise above this.”

Regardless, one student believes change is likely on the horizon for the yearly tradition.

“I think next year, spots will be a lot different,” Carey said. “Thinking people will think more about what they do just because it could affect anyone, or it could make anyone do anything that you don’t expect. So, it definitely changed my view on things.”

Zang said that if the spots keep getting tagged, he will consider putting school funding toward figuring out who’s responsible.

Rockford High School parking spaces painted for seniors. (July 31, 2020)

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