Police are investigating the appearance of Turkish flags at two Armenian private schools in the San Fernando Valley as a possible hate crime, school administrators said Tuesday.
The flags were hanging at the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School on 5300 White Oak Ave. in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles and the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School on 6844 Oakdale Ave. in the Canoga Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Photos showed three flags hanging on Ferrahian High School’s gates and a stairwell, early in Tuesday morning. Ferrahian school administrators said there was no threat to students, and classes continued at both locations.
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime at Ferrahian High School since the suspect trespassed on school property, school officials said. School administrators said they alerted the Los Angeles Police Department and officers were investigating at both campuses.
Authorities did not identify a suspect. Some parents took their children out of school early. “It is scary. Our kids go to private school to be safe, but look what’s going on,” one Ferrahian High School parent said. “It’s ridiculous. What do kids have to do with this?”
At the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, where 13 flags lined the school’s perimeter, the incident was being characterized as a “hate incident,” since the suspect did not trespass, the school said in a Facebook post. As a precautionary measure, the AGBU school campus “will remain a closed campus until further notice,” officials said.
Surveillance footage showed a man approaching the Ferrahian campus at around 4 a.m. and hanging the flags, the Armenian Genocide Committee said in a news release. The committee called the act a “hate crime.”
The years-long Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire, starting in 1915, killed around 1.5 million Armenians. Relations between Armenia and Turkey remain tense as the Turkish government continues to deny the genocide.
Representatives from the Armenian Genocide Committee were expected to speak about the incident at a 5 p.m. news conference.