Racist graffiti appears to target NFM coach

Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 07:24:12-05

Racially charged graffiti was discovered on the dug out of North Fort Myers High School, apparently aimed at the head baseball coach, Tavaris Gary.

This isn't the first time the coach was the target of racism, but this time, Principal Matt Mederios said the graffiti featured the "N-word" and a swastika.

"Extremely offensive. And intolerable. And unacceptable," Principal Mederios said.

He said the school quickly took action and scrubbed away the painful message.

It was discovered by a baseball player on his way into school.

He immediately told Coach Gary, who told school administration, who called in detectives.

"Go from there with the investigation and try to discover exactly who may have been involved with this," Principal Mederios said.

He calls this act "reprehensible and cowardly."

"In today's society, that has absolutely no place. You're not used to seeing something that's just so blatantly racist and ignorant," Principal Mederios said.

North Fort Myers High School student Anthony Edwards agrees racism has no place in society, but doesn't think the graffiti came from a place of hate.

"I think it was just recklessness. Kids like to do things just to show off, and I don't think it was any hate crime," Edwards said.

Last school year, Coach Gary was the victim of racism when a video was posted to social media showing the former Head Coach, David Bechtol, his son, and another student on the team hammering an image of Gary's Face.

Bechtol's wife, who works for the Lee County Sheriff's Office, is heard cheering in the background.

"Is there any reason to believe it's the same people?" Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg asked Principal Mederios.  "As far as we know, no. We don't have reason to believe or any evidence that exists that it is the same individuals," he answered.

Coach Gary did not respond for comment.

Principal Mederios said they're working to track down the people behind this offensive behavior, urging anyone with information to come forward.

He also said an effort to show support for Coach Gary, they're admitting any student dressed in the school's color, red, to Tuesday's baseball game for free.