The hate crimes that targeted Mission College Prep’s gay athletic director cannot be allowed to go unpunished — or for that matter, unnoticed.
As a community, we must send a clear message that this outrageous conduct won’t be tolerated. That’s what happened last year, when a cross was burned outside the window of a black family, and in 2008, when a noose, a Confederate flag and a racist, anti-gay sign were displayed at a Cal Poly Halloween party. This should be no different.
Some background: In the spring, ugly, hate-filled messages referring to the athletic director’s sexual orientation — one used the term “lez” and another called her an “abomination” — were left on her car and on a wall at the school.
In the first incident, which occurred in late April, Bailey Brown’s car was badly vandalized outside her Pismo Beach home; about a month later, another hateful mes sage was spray-painted on a wall at Mission Prep.
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Police did not release news of the incidents at the time, but acting on a tip, Tribune writer Nick Wilson was able to uncover the story, which was reported in Wednesday’s Tribune.
As Wilson reported, the police investigations have been hampered by a lack of witnesses and by difficulty in collecting evidence. For example, fingerprints could not be retrieved from Brown’s car because of the foggy conditions that morning.
Police are asking anyone with information on the case to come forward. But apprehending the culprit or culprits shouldn’t be the only goal; awareness and prevention are critical as well. That’s where groups such as PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) can help.
“We’re here to help the school, the students we have a lot of programs that would help,” said Barbara Adams, current recording secretary and former president of the Central Coast Chapter of PFLAG.
Adams said incidents like this one don’t occur often in San Luis Obispo County — “and nothing this bad, where we’ve had writing on the wall.” It’s time to commit, as a community, to doing all that we can to make it the last.