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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Coeur d’Alene officials investigating swastika on Lake City High School football field

The Coeur d’Alene School District is investigating vandalism at Lake City High School after someone apparently used gasoline or herbicide to burn letters, a swastika and a depiction of male genitalia into the grass of the school’s football field.

Members of the football team spotted the hate symbol last weekend, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press, though school officials had discovered the vandalism in mid-June.

“Because it took time for the grass to fully die, it wasn’t immediately apparent what all of the letters and symbols were,” district spokesman Scott Maben said in an email Thursday. “Earlier this month the full extent of this vandalism became obvious.”

Maben said the district hired a turf specialist to help restore the damaged grass, but the task has been difficult because of water outages related to school construction.

“We are reviewing our reporting procedures during the summer months to determine how the district office is to be notified of incidents like this,” he said. “We also are reviewing our approach to removing offensive vandalism in a timely manner. In this case, the mitigation measures didn’t work quickly enough, and we regret that the offensive symbol wasn’t removed sooner.”

The school has seen similar instances of vandalism in previous years, with some culprits burning “CHS” into the grass, an apparent reference to rival Coeur d’Alene High School. Maben said the school has security cameras that show portions of the athletic fields and bleachers, but school officials couldn’t see when or how the vandalism occurred, probably because it happened at night.

“We are communicating and collaborating with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department as our investigation continues,” Maben said. “If a student were found to be responsible for this vandalism, that student would be subject to our discipline policies, which could include suspension or expulsion.”