McLean Rock Vandalized with “All Lives Matter” Graffiti

In response to Black Lives Matter paintings, an unknown person covered the McLean rock with “ALM”


Ella Abend, Reporter

In honor of Black History Month, the Mclean Black Student Union (BSU) decorated McLean’s rock with “BLM” and lyrics from a well-known James Brown song such as, “say it loud,” and “I’m black and proud.”.  

Six days later, at approximately 9:30 pm, February 8th, an unidentified person dressed in a hoodie was caught on camera painting over the symbols and slogans on McLean High School’s rock.  The unidentified person allegedly painted the phrase “ALM,” standing for “All Lives Matter.”

“Personally, I saw our rock art piece as a labor of love– with hearts to match,” BSU founder and McLean junior Jasmine Andresol said. “It was something that us club members could be proud of and an item that could finally bring awareness to [Black History Month.]”

Langley’s student organizations are also recognizing Black History Month with flyers of famous African-Americans throughout American history. Similarly to McLean, a few Langley students expressed interest in decorating the rock as well. 

 “I wanted to paint our rock in a similar fashion for Black History Month, writing something of the likes of ‘Celebrate Black Excellence’ and ‘Black History Month is all year round!’, but I knew doing such a thing would have a response of hatred and vandalism and controversy,” Langley junior and Equity Coalition/African American Alliance leader Talia-Rose Diorio. “And I ended up being right. I really didn’t want to be, but the evidence is right in front of us. It very easily could have been at our own school.”

Several McLean High School (MHS) students expressed that they were not surprised at the adverse reaction the club’s messages received. 

“There has always been a problem with bigotry at McLean, especially racism,” MHS junior Sophia Stagarescu said. “It honestly shocked me when I realized how many people were defending the person who[vandalized the rock,] but I was glad that so many people were on the other side, standing up against the blatant hate speech.” 

Even though the vandalism covered the BSU students’ art, the club’s founder saw it as an opportunity to share the purpose of their cause.

“You failed to do the thing that you strived to accomplish,” Andresol said in reference to the vandalist during an interview with The Saxon Scope. “You did not discourage us, you did not silence us and you did not erase us, you only made our voices stronger.”

Andresol and the BSU responded to the vandalism with an after school meeting by the rock to show solidarity. The day after the rock was vandalized, a diverse crowd of students and staff reportedly gathered to show support. 

Additionally, Other clubs and students besides the BSU also posted messages to acknowledge the vandalism.

“It is imperative that we all come together to stand in solidarity against all kinds of hate speech in order to ensure that this school remains a safe space for people of all backgrounds,” a statement issued by the MHS Students Advocating for Equality Club read.

Even though the graffiti occurred on McLean’s campus, many believe it’s a relevant issue to Langley students as well. 

“In the recent weeks, schools like Ithaca College has been vandalised with Swastikas’ and HBCU have been receiving bomb threats, so hearing that acts of racial violence were happening just a few miles away from us was like a gut punch,” Diorio said. “I think this only reaffirms that we have a long way to go in terms of treatment of Black students in Fairfax County. This unfortunate event combined with Black History Month can develop into an opportunity for all of us [to] come together for the betterment of our Black students and extend a hand.”

“To those reading this in Langley, this happened in McLean, but remember we are one in the same community,” Andresol said. “Our accountability is your accountability too, so please don’t disregard this incident as a far away event, but an opportunity for you to also reflect on how you can better your school environment to be more inclusive.”