Davis city and school leaders denounced Tuesday the weekend discovery of a noose hanging from a football goal post at Davis High School.
A community meeting is being planned for this evening in response to the incident, which was reported to police at about 10 a.m. Friday by a school employee who found the noose — fashioned out of black rubber tubing — draped over the south goal post on the West 14th Street campus.
“The city of Davis is a community of acceptance, inclusion and understanding. We emphatically deplore the act of hate that occurred at Davis High School over the weekend,” Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson said in a joint statement issued Tuesday afternoon.
“We stand firmly with all members of our community, especially those who have known the pain of discrimination and prejudice in the past,” the council members said. “The incident is an unfortunate reminder that we must redouble our efforts in the community — and in our classrooms — to teach and emulate equality and justice.”
Added Susan Lovenburg, president of the Davis Board of Education: “The hanging of the noose at our football stadium goes against everything we believe and teach our students. As a community, we deplore this act of hatred and ignorance.”
The incident will be discussed at the community meeting, slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Davis High School library. Davis police officials and DHS Principal Jacqui Moore are expected to attend.
“Parents need to know about this. The community needs to know about this, even if there’s nothing you can do,” said Jann Murray-García, president of Blacks for Effective Community Action.
Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov said the noose hanging is being investigated as a hate incident “at this point.”
“We don’t have a whole lot of leads, but we have assigned a detective to see what we can come up with,” he said.
Doroshov said it also is unclear whether the noose was hung in relation to recent celebrations of Juneteenth, the June 19 holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
“There were no inscriptions that would indicate some sort of message, other than the noose itself,” he said.
The California Penal Code calls for anyone who hangs a noose on school grounds, “knowing it to be a symbol representing a threat to life … for the purpose of terrorizing any person who attends or works at the school” or who is associated with the school, to be punished by fines and/or jail time.
Meanwhile, Krovoza and Swanson said the council will seek the Human Relations Commission’s guidance “to advise the City Council on steps to further promote and foster inclusion and nurturing of all people in our community.”
Anyone with related concerns, or with ideas to assist the commission with this effort, is invited to email staff liaison Kelly Stachowicz at email@example.com.
Murray-García said the incident has triggered disturbing memories of the February 2005 hate crimes at two schools and two churches in and just outside the Davis city limits, which included vandalism and graffiti with racial and anti-religious slurs.
Authorities later arrested two Davis youths, ages 16 and 17, in connection with the four incidents, which caused tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to Fairfield Elementary School, Holmes Junior High School, First Baptist Church and the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Both Doroshov and Murray-García urged anyone with information about the noose hanging to report it to the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5400.
“A lot of people know who did this, because people don’t do these things and not brag about it,” Murray-García said.
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene