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Students charged with swastika graffiti at Calabasas High

April 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Deputies now know who is responsible for the offensive graffiti at Calabasas High School.

Maintenance workers discovered swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on sidewalks and doors at the school Saturday morning.

Three students have been charged with the crimes, which has classmates disappointed.

"It's sad you know? These students are my peers," said student Shannon Ruben. "I probably went to middle school with these kids. You wouldn't expect anything from kids like that. I couldn't imagine what student did that."

Authorities said the suspects are all minors and that based on interviews with the teens, deputies do not believe the crimes warrant hate crime charges.

"Their motivation was really, they felt like they had been mistreated by these people," said Los Angeles City Sheriff Lt. David Thompson. "So they were doing anything they could to upset them. They didn't, during the course of the interviews, really understand the gravity of what it is that they wrote. They were just trying to cause some discomfort for the people."

At Calabasas High, the staff is going to try and turn the incident into a teaching moment.

"Kids are taking it very seriously," said Principal C.J. Foss. "They feel like we were violated. But they are talking about tolerance and that's a positive thing."

The goal for the school is to take a negative and try and get something positive out of it. Faculty and deputies are hoping everyone gets the message, especially the three teens allegedly responsible.

The teens are going to be charged with felony vandalism. They are also going to be responsible for cleaning up the graffiti at Calabasas High.