A Black Department of Education employee's office was vandalized in what some are considering to be a racially motivated act.
NBC News reports the incident occurred inside the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday afternoon. Vandals beheaded African figurines, removed arms and other limbs and tore down a desegregation poster. The office is reportedly located on the third floor of the building.
The poster is of major significance. Sources said the poster was of Ruby Bridges. The then 6-year-old was instrumental in desegregating southern schools during Jim Crow. She was surrounded by U.S. marshals as angry white parents hurled obscenities at her as she entered the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.
Other employees reportedly began hanging the poster in their offices to show solidarity. According to The Daily Beast, the victim's name has not been released but their report indicates the victim was a woman.
Frank Brogan, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, called the act "unfortunate" and "cowardly" in a stern rebuke.
“There was an unfortunate incident on our floor this week. An office was vandalized. This cowardly action is intolerable and unacceptable.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has launched an investigation into the matter.
The case was sent to the Federal Protective Services for a "comprehensive investigation, increasing building security, and most importantly, ensuring the impacted employee was supported,” a statement from Angela Morabito, an Education Department spokesperson, read.
No other employee's office was vandalized. The victim is convinced she may have been singled out and targeted due to her race.
“I don’t know if it was targeted, but it sure does feel like it,” the employee said. “To pick one room and to go in and destroy it like that.”
Issues arose when other employees suggested the incident was not properly addressed. Some claimed higher-ups were deliberately attempting to sweep the incident under the rug. Brogan's email concerning the issue was only sent to staff members from the department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, NBC News reported.