Sprague High School was tagged with swastikas, racist slurs and homophobic graffiti overnight, prompting an investigation into a possible hate crime from Salem police.

District security discovered the graffiti overnight during a regular patrol around 4 a.m. Monday and alerted maintenance staff, district spokeswoman Lillian Govus said. 

The graffiti was on the outside of multiple buildings, including the main Sprague building, several portables and the school stadium, Govus said.

Maintenance workers removed all graffiti by 10:30 a.m. and covered what they couldn't remove before school started so students wouldn't see it.

The graffiti included homophobic language, racist slurs aimed at black people and depictions of genitalia, Govus said.

“If it was a student there will obviously be consequences at the school in addition to any kind of legal consequences," Govus said.

Sprague principal Chad Barkes told parents the school was in contact with Salem police.

"We know that what was written does not reflect Sprague High School, our community, or our ideals," Barkes told parents in an automated phone call Tuesday morning. "Sprague has been and will continue to be a welcoming school for all children, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity or anything else."

Police spokesman Lt. Treven Upkes said no specific person was mentioned in the graffiti and there's no reason to believe anyone is in danger.

“We take these kinds of incidents very seriously," he said. “We understand how upset people can be when groups are targeted with hateful speech like this."

Anyone with information can call the Salem police tips line at (503) 588-8477.

Correction: This article misspelled the name of Sprague principal Chad Barkes.

Reporter Rachel Alexander: (503) 575-1241 or [email protected]