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Dodig and Community React to Recent Graffiti in Bathrooms

Ben Klaff ’10
News Editor 

white-powerPrincipal John Dodig recently informed students on Good Morning Staples about the rise of graffiti in the school bathrooms. The community has also had mixed reactions to the recent vandalism.

When referring to the recent graffiti found in the boys bathroom stalls, Dodig described it as “racial, anti-Semitic, and homophobic.”

Dodig acknowledged that Staples students have given him many great memories, making it more difficult to believe when he saw the vandalism in the bathrooms.

“The positives that Staples teenagers have given me is the most of all the years I’ve worked in schools my whole life,” said Dodig. “Which is why the graffiti represents to me behaviors that is so atypical of Staples High School students that it frustrates and angers me, because I can’t fix it.”

Dodig also related the recent graffiti (which was anti- Semitic and racist), to Germany under Adolf Hitler’s rule.

“In all honesty, I see parallels to Nazi Germany. They didn’t talk about Italians or Chiristans, they didn’t talk about the soccer team,” said Dodig.

Dodig also said that the teenagers at Staples could do something to stop the graffiti for the future.  


The inside of a bathroom stall door reads "n****r." Photo by Ted Swanson '83
The inside of a bathroom stall door reads "n****r." Photo by Ted Swanson '83

“I know in my heart that more than the person who did it, or the two people who did it, or the three people who did it know who they are,” said Dodig. “It’s impossible for teenagers not to talk to each other. All you need to do is tell one person and before you know, it 50 people know.”

Dodig emphasized the fact that teenagers should stand up for each other. He said that “If you’re offended because you go to a school that you take pride in being vandalized, then do something about it.”

Dodig clarified that he “didn’t mean beat somebody up, but in a loud voice in a large group, find out who it is and say cease and assist.”

Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue in Westport also believed that the student body should stand up to the hate. He also thought this was a good chance to educate students about tolerance in order to counteract the vandalism.

“In my mind, it is the responsibility of the student body to stand up and say ‘we won’t tolerate this on our campus,” said Wiederhorn. “ It may also be a nice opportunity for some education and tolerance training in order to counteract the ignorance and misunderstandings that may exist at Staples,” he said.

Jake Petterson ’12 believes that it is the job the people who are committing the vandalism to stop, and it is not the job of the uninvolved to report it.

“I think that even though it is true that teens talk to each other, it is unfair to characterize the entire student body as being responsible for ending the graffiti. It isn’t the responsibility of the uninvolved or knowing individuals to report it to the administration,” said Petterson.

There have been previous suggestions, other than for the student body to stand up against the hate, that have been discussed among the administration.

When asked about the possibility of locking the bathrooms doors, (which would be very difficult because of the design of the bathrooms), Dodig said that it was not worth it and reiterated the need for student action.

“I’ve been in schools where we locked doors but it’s not worth it,” said Dodig. “The only way it’s going to stop is for the kids in this school who are offended to do something about it.”

 What are your opinions about the graffiti found in boys’ bathrooms? 

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  • C

    Captain ObviousApr 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    What the administrators don’t understand is that when students depict swastikas, the “n-word”, and other symbols/phrases on bathroom walls, they aren’t being racist. They’re just morons with nothing better to do, and should be disciplined as such.

  • M

    Mike SchneiderJun 29, 2009 at 10:48 am

    This is nothing new. During my time at Staples, Inklings published at least one story per year detailing the new waves of graffiti plaguing the bathrooms of the school.
    It baffles me that it would be necessary to announce the presence of graffiti before the school. As Mr. Dodig said, the behavior is completely atypical of Staples students. Concurrently, those vandalizing school property surely know that they are doing something wrong; hearing a recorded message on Good Morning Staples will not cause the offender(s) to suddenly reconsider his/their actions.

    Additionally, I would hope that Mr. Dodig’s quote about Nazi Germany is merely poorly excerpted, unless of course if Staples’ “everyone’s included” attitude can be applied to vandalism, too.