The parents of a seventh-grade Philadelphia student are demanding answers after the family woke up to graffiti on the side of their home in what they believe is a racially charged incident.
“Snitching Ass. Die Cracker,” the words spray-painted on the side of the home read.
“They don’t like me; they never did,” Joey Messina told CBS Philadelphia about his schoolmates at Mastery Charter Thomas Campus.
“He walked outside and saw that; he came right in, said, ‘Dad, I am scared now,’” Joey’s dad, Joe Messina, said of the graffiti.
Both of Joey’s parents say they believe their son was targeted because he is white. Police reports document a six-on-one attack in a school hallway that happened three weeks ago.
“And then they all stared coming in and punching my back; I was covering my face,” Joey said.
The Messinas said that staff at the school just turned a blind eye to the situation.
“They let them run that school. It’s a shame to say, they really do,” Margaux Messina, Joey’s mom, said. “They don’t care about the gangs in there; they deny that when there really is.”
Now Philadelphia police are investigating to determine whether the incident involved ethnic intimidation.
“In this specific case, the nature of what was said does lead us to believe there is a racial component because of a specific word that was used,” Police Capt. Sekou Kinebrew acknowledged.
In a statement to CBS Philadelphia, the school said: “Our job is to keep students safe. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and investigate all allegations thoroughly and expeditiously. For all off-campus incidents, we defer to the police for appropriate follow-up.”
“I want to go up to that school and confront the main people, and how am I composing myself, I don’t even know. I’m ready to explode,” the father, Joe Messina, said.
However, according to the school, the dad “is no longer allowed on campus because of a pattern of behavior.”
The school declined to explain further.
In the meantime, a city crew went to the Messinas’ home to wash the graffiti away.