Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

B.C. high school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Staff and students have restored the pride flag crosswalk at a high school in a Victoria suburb following its vandalization only three days after its initial painting and before Monday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

West Shore RCMP responded to Royal Bay shortly after midnight on May 16. A group of 18 to 20 people, reported by witnesses to be spray painting on and around the school, immediately fled. Police stopped one vehicle with three occupants, two of whom were arrested for mischief in connection to the vandalized crosswalk, which was discovered in the morning. Both arrested men were residents of Colwood.

The pride flag crosswalk was the legacy project and inclusion effort of 17-year-old queer senior student Oskar Wood.

The initial hurt Wood felt hearing about the vandalism was almost eclipsed by self-doubt after discovering the extent of the hateful messaging, he said.

READ MORE: Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Hate terms were painted across the crosswalk along with graphic phallic imagery, said Danielle Huculak, teacher and facilitator of Colwood’s Royal Bay Secondary School’s gender and sexuality alliance. A racist word was also spray-painted at another part of the school. Police are investigating for incite of public hatred.

“I thought it was just going to be scribbles – nothing so hateful,” Wood said. “It’s hard for me, as a 17-year-old kid, to see this hate … I’m trying as hard as I can to stay positive and focus on the community that is supporting me.”

Support has been pouring in, both online and with offers to help fix the crosswalk.

“On this International Day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, we are only too recently reminded that discrimination does still exist in our communities,” said Sooke School District chairperson Ravi Parmar in an online statement. “There is no place for homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and racism in our classrooms, our schools, our homes or our communities.”

The Sooke School District launched the #SD62Pride Twitter campaign for participants to submit photos for the school district of LGBTQ+ pride.

Reactions on social media against the vandalism also included death threats towards the perpetrators, which Wood said they didn’t deserve. “They don’t deserve hate – that’s exactly what this crosswalk is meant for, it’s meant to promote acceptance, empathy [and] mutual respect.”

Wood, along with three other students and Royal Bay staff restored the crosswalk Sunday afternoon, which also featured a rolling crowd of support from passersby and a speech from Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.

Bu the blatant hate “almost strengthened the meaning behind the crosswalk,” Wood said. “Now that we’ve painted over it, [it shows] we will not stand for this. We will not accept what hateful things are put on the crosswalk. If it happens again, we’ll just repaint it – over and over and over again.”

West Shore RCMP did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

ALSO READ: B.C. radio host left with broken leg after confrontation with anti-gay street preachers


Do you have a story tip? Email: kiernan.green@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

SD62West Shore

Just Posted

Some algae is visible at the swimming ponds at Millennium Park. Photo: Betsy Kline
City of Castlegar says Millennium Ponds safe, in spite of algae

Water samples are regularly sent to Interior Health

Black Press file photo
City of Castlegar plans to offer dumpster for small amounts of summer garbage

Bear Smart initiative looking to reduce wildlife conflict

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read