El Cid

Tagged tunnel gets tune-up

Alexander Nichols, Staff Writer

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A group of Cathedral Catholic High School students, faculty, and staff painted a tunnel connecting the Del Mar-area campus to a popular neighborhood nature preserve last Monday in an effort to beautify the campus by covering slanderous, blasphemous, and offensive graffiti.

“I decided to come out and help paint over the tunnel because I wanted to cover up the profane language,” Denise Naguit ’18 said. “It was a great opportunity because it combined painting with service.”

The graffiti tunnel, which had been exposed previously in El Cid, finally got cleaned up by students and staff in less than two hours. The group painted over the tunnel with a gray water-based paint provided by the City of San Diego’s Transportation and Storm Water Street Division.

Although many students believe the public right of way looks much better now that the graffiti cannot be seen, some students disagree.

“The street art at the tunnel should have been left alone because it is a First Amendment right and people are expressing themselves through art,” William Bacon ’17 said.

While Bacon may believe the tunnel graffiti represents freedom of speech and artistic expression, tagging the tunnel is a crime for many reasons, according to Steven Hadley, the San Diego community outreach director for District One Councilwoman Mrs. Barbara Bry.

According to Municipal Code, a document outlining public codes, the use of profane and vulgar language in public is illegal and not protected under the First Amendment.

According to Mr. Hadley, the tunnel is public property. If any changes, including art, want to be done, citizens must file paperwork through the correct channels. In addition, the images and words in the tunnel crossed the line into being inappropriate and explicit.

Defacing public property is a serious crime, and is not taken lightly, Mr. Hadley said.

“When graffiti turns into ugly messages and images, it is no longer is cool,” Naguit said. “The taggers may not be affected by what they put up, but other people still are.”

The debate goes on, but for right now what was in the tunnel was illegal, according to Juvenile Service Team Officer Robert Briggs, who is assigned to CCHS and the surrounding community.

For now, the graffiti tunnel on the far west side of the junior lot has been painted over, but it may be retagged, necessitating another paint out.

“I was happy I got to paint over the tunnel,” Naguit said. “I feel like I did a service to the community, and I hope the campus can stay beautiful.”


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The School Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School
Tagged tunnel gets tune-up