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Graffiti, Offensive Slurs, & You:
Some Words Are More Offensive Than You Think

An Autism Behavioral Center Was Tagged With the R Word in Canada

Pictured: The wall of the Autism Behavioral Services Inc. that was tagged with the graffiti partially covered up

All over the world, in different types of cities and good and bad areas of town you can find a building, street sign, underground tunnel, etc. with graffiti on it. Sometimes the graffiti is actual art, a piece that someone put effort into creating using spray paint. The thing that makes it graffiti is it is usually done on a private building or city property without permission. Cities all over the world have buildings with murals that look like some graffiti that can be found. The other type of graffiti, and the more common type among young people is tagging. This is going to a building and writing a nickname or word on the wall. What most teenagers don’t realize is that graffiti, tagging or thought-out art, is illegal.

In Fergus, Ontario, Canada Freya Hunter runs Autism Behavioral Services Inc. which is a behavioral facility where she helps parents and children under the age of 18 learn about their specific type of autism and how to grow, learn, and handle their condition . Late at night between March 23 and 24, 2021 someone wrote the R-word on the side of the building. Hunter and the families of the children she helps were very upset and hurt by this.

The R-word lands in the same category as other slang words such as the N-word. It is sometimes said as a joke or in a non offensive way but to people who have autism it is very offensive. Hunter said she wasn’t sure if the graffiti was meant to be harmful but that it was the only building out of several that were tagged that night that had the word so it felt like a personal attack.

The Autism Behavioral Services building did not have security cameras installed at the time so there is no way of knowing who did it. Hunter hopes that one of the other buildings that got tagged had security so that the person can be found and identified. She said she wouldn’t press charges but that she would like to give them community service hours by having them spend the day with her kids so that they can be properly educated on autism.

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Questions:

1. This specific graffiti example happened in Canada. What laws would be broken if it happened in America? Nevada?

2. If the offender is found and they are under the age of 18 what consequences might they face? Do those consequences change if they are a legal adult?

3. This person tagged many other cars and buildings besides Hunter’s. She stated she would not press charges but would work with them for community hours. What would happen if one or more of the other people whose property was damaged pressed charges? 

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://globalnews.ca/news/7716623/autism-services-building-fergus-r-word/

Contributed by Saralynn Lindsay






Tags
Autism Awareness, Canada Law, Graffiti, Offensive Language, Project REAL, Tagging, U.S. Law,





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