Silver Chips Online

Graffitists apprehended

Building services to remove extensive graffiti from bathroom walls

By Alex Hyder, Online Op-Ed Editor
October 4, 2005
Three Blair students were apprehended last week in connection with the recent proliferation of graffiti in several boys' bathrooms, according to Blair security officers. Security refused to reveal the students' names or give any identifying information other than that all three were male.
The work of "Blaze" invaded the privacy of a boy's handicapped bathroom stall. Alex Hyder
The work of "Blaze" invaded the privacy of a boy's handicapped bathroom stall.


Security officer Jose Segura said that the students were caught in the act of vandalizing a restroom approximately 24 hours after a "monitoring program" was put in place. He also said that a security department investigation concluded that the graffiti was not related to gang activity.

Segura noted that the individuals apprehended had been active vandals "for about two weeks" before they were apprehended. In that time, however, the vandals managed a voluminous output, using the school's bathrooms as their canvas.

The graffiti was densest in the bathrooms in the 310s and 220s hallways, but some could be found in every boys' bathroom in the school. "Blaze," "Ecko" and "Igor" were the most common tags, and were often followed by whimsical messages "everyone loves Igor" or exhortations to "help graffiti grow."

Some of the graffiti, especially the work of Blaze, seemed to be inspired by the well-known Borf, the graffiti artist whose prolific work made him a household name in the D.C. area. Signs like "Blaze lives in a castle" greeted visitors to room 320, while the warning that "Blaze is watchin'" invaded the privacy of a handicapped stall.

According to Building Services Manager Reginald Tobin, much of the graffiti remains on the walls because protocol requires security to photograph each graffito and determine if it is gang-related. Tobin said the building services department does intend to remove the graffiti as soon as possible. Doing so, however, could become costly. Removing graffiti is normally an inexpensive procedure requiring a few squirts of solvent and some scrubbing, but Tobin said that "this can get expensive over time," especially since workers will have to remove so much. He also noted, "If it's really bad, we may have to paint over the walls." Such a procedure, according to Tobin, would cost even more. Regardless of the price, however, building services workers are intent on relegating the work of Blaze and his cohorts to mere memories. "It all comes down eventually," Tobin said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/5678