Nasty Graffiti: Saved by the Plastic Chicken atop the Car

Around half of this beautiful weekend’s daylight hours were spent in schools waiting for Boy 2 to swim in a competition (Saturday) and Boy 1 to do the same on Sunday. The first school was a college and today’s was a high school on the south shore of the island of Montreal.

The view as you walk out the front doors of the high school.
By noon I told my wife I was stepping outside to get some fresh air. Out the doors, breathe in a good dose of non-chlorinated air, turned my head to the left and saw graffiti on the school wall that made my heart sink (see the photo). To the credit of the school administration, it looked as though they’ve tried to clean past markings on that wall. I guess they haven’t gotten around to cleaning up this crap.
Once inside, a “Green Ribbon Charter” promoting rights in the school.
Like a similar splash of vulgar graffiti in a local park a few weeks ago, this bugged me. A few minutes after I snapped this photo I went back inside to take my seven year-old Boy 2 for a walk to a nearby park. As I walked through the doors with him I realized I had to keep his attention away from the wall. He’d seen the F-word before (inside on a bulleting board, among other places); the significance of the “Mother” coupled with the F-word would be harder to explain, and I’d just as much want to stay away from “Bitch.” Fortunately, a delivery car with a large plastic chicken on its roof was speeding by on the road in front of us. The diversion came just in time. 
Inside the school, a welcome initiative: posted on the wall behind a glass case was a “Green Ribbon Charter.” The Charter had 10 articles, basically saying:
  1. Respect between boys and girls
  2. Prevent against all forms of racism
  3. Take the responsibility to speak up (when witnessing violence)
  4. Have freedom of expression
  5. Have mutual respect between adolescents and youth (something that didn’t click a couple of weeks ago at another school I visited)
  6. Ensure amicability between younger and older students
  7. Act against violence
  8. Respect others who are studying
  9. Include students who are having problems (by helping and encouraging them)
  10. Use courteous language
I’m thinking that whoever wrote the stuff on the wall missed out on reading this. They should take copies of this Charter and cover the whole graffitied wall with it. That’s one message I don’t mind spreading.

This has no place here

Another birthday celebration for my son, Boy 1. Last week it was with the family, this week his friends. After pizza, cake, ice cream, and unwrapping (mostly LEGO) gifts, we went out for some fresh air. My wife and I took seven boys to one of two local parks. Dubbed the “bouncy park” by my children owing to its trampoline, it’s a place we’ve been going to for the past nine years. I like it because it has a swing set with a seat wide enough for me to actually sit.

On a sandy patch next to the chalet, the small slide for younger children had a crude image of a penis spray painted on one of its plastic sides. That wasn’t there the last time. Nor was the word “nigger” spray painted on the window of the chalet. I asked my wife afterwards what would prompt anyone to draw that image on a children’s slide and that word on the window. Someone who’s sick, she said, someone who’s disturbed, someone who wants attention. I’m grateful that none of the children paid any attention to the graffiti.

Why do this in a small park in a middle class neighbourhood in a Montreal suburb? You wanted my attention, you’ve got it. You wanted to upset me, done. What you have done, whoever you are, has no place here. It has no place anywhere. Especially not in a children’s park. Not in my children’s Bouncy Park. You are disturbed, you have probably been neglected by your parents, maybe you’ve never been loved, perhaps you’ve been bullied or picked on and this is your way of thinking you’re cool. I never saw any of this growing up, and I certainly don’t want my children to either.