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Spray Paint, Flames Mar School

Spray-painted ethnic and derogatory words were found along with evidence of a small fire at Orange Hunt Elementary School, Fairfax County Police said. The incidents occurred sometime between May 2 and May 4.

After identification, the marks were removed, according to Orange Hunt principal Janet Barbee.

"We've had graffiti before. This is the first time with graffiti of this nature," said Barbee.

Officer Bud Walker, Fairfax County Police spokesperson, noted police typically encounter two types of graffiti.

"There's graffiti that's gang-related, or taggers," Walker said.

The graffiti at Orange Hunt did not fall under either of those categories, so the police procedure is to photograph it and forward the information to the bias crimes detective who tracks trends, Walker said.

"From there, we would start an investigation," Walker said.

Orange Hunt was renovated last year, going from an open-classroom layout to a more conventional style of classrooms.

"The county and police came right out," Barbee said. "They're really quick about that."

ACCORDING TO WALKER, the police encourage the timely removal of graffiti, but it's the property owner’s responsibility to do it.

"If it's school property," he said, "it's up to the school to remove it."

Quick removal of graffiti is part of the school policy, said Paul Regnier, Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson.

"We want to have the police involved. We want to make sure it's recorded and get rid of it as soon as possible," Regnier said.

Maryam Farjam, a senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School, lives near Orange Hunt.

"You don't see much graffiti at school," Mariam said. "It gets covered up real quick."

Although the graffiti at Orange Hunt wasn't categorized as gang-related, Regnier noted a move in the School Board to incorporate resisting peer pressure as part of the health curriculum.

"A lot of it [gang awareness] is educating adults on what to look for," Regnier said.