JUST IN: Police investigating racist graffiti on roof of local middle school

Tributes to the students who integrated the former Stratford Junior High School, outside of Dorothy Hamm Middle School in 2023 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington County police are investigating “extensive” graffiti, including a racist word, on the roof of Dorothy Hamm Middle School.

Families were informed of the investigation via email yesterday. The principal of the school in the Cherrydale neighborhood noted that “the students involved have been identified.

Dear Dorothy Hamm Families,

I am writing to inform you about an incident involving vandalism on the school’s roof that occurred over the weekend that included a racist term.

We immediately reported the vandalism to the APS Department of Safety, Security and Emergency Management and the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD). The students involved have been identified and the investigation by the ACPD is ongoing. The families of the students involved have been notified.

While the graffiti damage is extensive, there is no evidence of additional vandalism or other suspicious activity at the school.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office.


Ellen Smith,

The school, formerly Stratford Junior High School, has a notable history as the first Arlington public school to be integrated, in 1959. It was renovated and expanded a few years ago, converted to a middle school, and renamed after a prominent Arlington civil rights figure who led the local school desegregation effort.

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