Student faces charges after hateful messages spray painted on school property

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- Swastikas and other graffiti scrawled on a school building has the FBI deciding whether hate crime charges will be filed.

An 18-year-old student is now facing a misdemeanor criminal damage charge in Johnson County.

Kimau Kimaru

Kimau Kimaru

Kamau Kimaru has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

The sheds have since been cleaned up, but many students at Shawnee Mission East said the so-called prank was taken too far.

“I was kind of shocked to see that they would go as far as to use spray paint on the track shed. It just kind of seemed unnecessary,” said student Will Hembree.

Students at Shawnee Mission East High School said pictures of three sheds near the school's athletic fields covered with sexual, political, and racial messages, including vulgar words and swastikas, were posted all over social media.

Police are investigating after school property at Shawnee Mission East was vandalized.

Police are investigating after school property at Shawnee Mission East was vandalized.

“It was just very unnecessary, and kind of taking the rivalry too far,” said student Madison Thimmesch.

The rivalry she's referring to is an ongoing, and not always civil, rivalry between Shawnee Mission East and Shawnee Mission South.

Friday morning -- the day of the basketball games between the two schools -- Shawnee Mission East staff members found the vandalism.

“It's a fun rivalry between Shawnee Mission East and Shawnee Mission South, it shouldn’t be taken as far as it does sometimes,” Hembree said.

“Yes, a lot of people were offended by it,” Thimmesch added. “I don't think that was just kids being kids, because kids don't normally do that kind of stuff and I think they should definitely be held accountable.”

Police are investigating after school property at Shawnee Mission East was vandalized.

Police are investigating after school property at Shawnee Mission East was vandalized.

The district said it takes both the images and property damage very seriously. The students involved in the crime have been identified and may face both criminal and district sanctions.

Because of the symbols that were used, the crime has become a federal matter.

FOX 4 was told several students may have been involved, and they could also face charges and school punishment.

Kansas does not have a hate crime law, but under the Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, the FBI can investigate a crime as a potential hate crime if there is evidence that the perpetrator acted in response to a victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender.