Two local teens, former Idyllwild School (IS) students, tagged 7 IS middle school campus buildings with white supremacist symbols and text, including swastikas and hate messages between 8 and 10 p.m., Monday March 1.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) Deputy and IS School Resource Officer Josh Cadenhead reported the incident. By Tuesday, largely based on tips from current IS middle school students, RCSD had the identities of the two and both were arrested. A search of one of the boys’ rooms revealed a stash of white supremacist material. Further searches of the boys’ computers showed their My Space pages filled with more of the same racist rant. Neither set of parents professed any knowledge of their sons’ supremacist opinions.
Deputy Cadenhead said some of the slogans scrawled on IS campus were particularly shocking and offensive because this kind of hate mongering is rare in Idyllwild. IS Principal Matt Kraemer advised parents to check their children’s My Space and Face book pages to see what they’re viewing. “It could be a wake up call,” said Kraemer and prevent catastrophic school incidents that have become all too familiar since Columbine.
The duo calls themselves So Cal Skins (SCS) and signs their graffiti "SCS". Deputy Cadenhead advised anyone in town who has had their property similarly tagged and signed to contact RCSD Hemet Station at (951)791-3412. “There may be just these two in the gang, or maybe more,” he said. “So far there are no links or ties to anything bigger,” said Cadenhead. “This does not qualify as a hate crime because there was no specific person targeted,” said Cadenhead. Still, Cadenhead added, this is an affront to the school and the town’s sensibilities.
“Our middle school kids were very upset that this happened,” said Kraemer. “They know that this is their school and it has been attacked and defaced.” Kraemer said he would institute immediate school-wide security measures, including locking of all gates during school hours and requiring any school visitors, including parents of students, to come to the office and sign in before proceeding onto campus. “This will be a closed campus during the school day,” he said. “I’m doing this to maintain a safer student environment for students and staff.”
Kraemer contacted Town Hall Recreation Director Bob Lewis to consult on the incident since the community uses IS facilities at night. “I’ve asked him to contact Community Patrol to see if they could patrol the campus while community recreation events are taking place.”
Kraemer said the new security measures would remain in effect for the immediate future.