Swastika found outside Dayton school

DAYTON, Wash. -- It's not the kind of headline Dayton wanted. A swastika found burned on school property. Students dressing up as the KKK. Both incidents happened within a week of each other. KEPR got the the community's reaction.

Brandon Goodell decided against this year's Halloween prank. A good decision after the so-called "prank" left the rest of the community in shock, and brought news reporters to town.

"Couple of my friends thought it was a good idea to get in some "ghosts, KKK" uniforms and burn a cross in the yard and knock on a black guy's door, and they thought it was funny, they thought it was the perfect Halloween prank," said Goodell.

Everyone we talked to didn't find it funny at all.

"Something like that's horrible," said Amanda Sturgill.

"That shocks me and saddens me. I don't expect that from our community," said a community member who did not want to be named.

Goodell didn't want to reveal the names of his friends to me or to school officials. He insists they meant no harm.

"They don't believe that they should really harm black people, they just thought it would be funny and to see what would happen and I'm pretty sure they like all the hype, all the, you being here, and getting on camera, yeah, that's what they wanted to happen," said Goodell.

The costumes came a week before a swastika was burned into the lawn outside Dayton Elementary. The school quickly replaced the grass. Deputies say they still haven't been able to confirm the two acts are linked.

"They're trying to get attention, they weren't just gonna do it for no reason," he said.

"I wonder if these kids knew what they were doing and how hurtful it would," said 'Jane Doe.'

Detectives call the investigation active, and are following up on leads. The district calls it "unsettling."

The district told the Walla Walla Union Bulletin it had identified at least one of the students who had dressed like a member of the KKK. The paper says it is working with the student and the student's parents.