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‘Disturbing’ Graffiti Found at Arlington School, 5 Arrested

Police said they arrested five high school students Thursday for their involvement in spray painting "disturbing" words and images at Arlington Martin High School.

Arlington Independent School District officials reported to police at about 8 a.m. Wednesday that hate speech was spray painted at Martin High School. District staff quickly removed the graphics and text that contained what police called "disturbing racial and gender overtones."

Lt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington Police Department addressed the students who vandalized the school, saying "you're doing hateful messages that really case community harm and alarm."

"Whites Only" was written above a water fountian, while "Trans Only" was written on the bathroom entrance. According to the arrest warrants and police, other images painted around the school contained sexual content.

Investigators reviewed surveillance footage, interviewed students and faculty and monitored social media and identified several Arlington ISD students thought to be responsible.

Police said detectives arrested 18-year-old Cameron Bodenstab, 18-year-old Ethan Sigmond, 17-year-old Christian Joeckel, 17-year-old Hayden Honolka and 17-year-old Ryan Westbrook, all Arlington High School students, for their involvement in painting grafetti of their cross-town rival.

Lt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington Police Department told NBC 5, "Unfortunately, you just cannot engage in this kind of criminal activity. They all admitted to this. It looks like from our interviews, they claim it was a senior prank. I don’t think they gave a lot of thought to the ramifications."

According to the arrest warrants, Westbrook admitted to police that he and some friends painted the jungle gym as part of a "senior prank." Sigmond said "he and his friends wore rubber gloves and dipped their hands in paint and used their hands to paint the jungle gym" according to the warrant. Joeckel and Honolka both told police that most of the graffiti was present when they arrived, but admitted to contributing, according to the warrant.

Police said the five boys currently face criminal charges and up to two years in jail, but they believe other students may be involved.

Arlington police asked anyone with information about the incident to contact Sgt. Kyrus Branch at 817-459-5327 or Tarrant County Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8477 (TIPS).

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely and Jamie Weiss contributed to this report.

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