NEW ROCHELLE, NY — A student who successfully advocated for a change in the graduation gown policy at New Rochelle High School, has published a Facebook post claiming to have been targeted by vandals at the school as a result.
Jackson Riemerschmid published two photos of a damaged vehicle, one of a broken side mirror and the other of a rear bumper.
“I know this is a result of my advocating for the change in graduation robes but I will never stop fighting for the LGBTQ+ community,” wrote Riemerschmid on Facebook.
Riemerschmid notified school security officers of the incidents, according to New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson.
“We are fully aware of the situation that occurred and have been in communication with the student and the parents,” said Richardson.
“I met with the entire senior class after these incidents to make sure that they understood that harmful actions and attitudes towards any students will not be tolerated,” said Richardson who added that what makes the school special is its “inclusiveness and true diversity”.
The incidents occurred over a period of three days.
“Last Wednesday (March 2nd) someone broke the mirror off my car and then Friday (March 4th) bashed my back bumper in with a hammer that they left next to my car,” Riemerschmid posted on March 7th.
The two incidents occurred less than two weeks after Riemerschmid and two other students appeared with Richardson at a New Rochelle Board of Education meeting on February 23rd.
School Board members enthusiastically supported the policy change, formally announced in a statement sent to a New Rochelle High School community email list on March 7, under which all students graduating in 2017 will wear purple gowns. Gown color will be optional in 2016.
The two alleged incidents of criminal mischief may constituents hate crimes.
Richardson said local police were contacted when the incidents happened.
“We tried to review the cameras but the car was out side of the view of the cameras,” said Richardson. “I don’t think the police have been able to identify anyone responsible.“
No official complaints were filed with the New Rochelle Police Department.
“We have no record of that incident having been reported to us,” said Captain Cosmo Costa of the NRPD.
Riemerschmid remains undaunted.
“You can break my car but you can’t break my spirit,” Riemerschmid said.