By Breanna Edwards, theRoot.com

A large rock in front of South Pointe High School was spray-painted “Happy N–ger Month” over the weekend, but students decided to turn that message into a teachable moment.

Students at South Pointe High School in South Carolina wasted no time in turning around the ugly message that had been spray-painted across a spirit rock outside the school over the weekend, turning it into a message of equality.

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The first, racist message, which read “Happy N–ger Month” and was signed “KKK,” was discovered by a school custodian Sunday morning. The message was covered by 9 a.m. that day.

But as South Pointe students were grappling with what for many was their first real encounter with racism, they decided to decorate over the stone, sending a more positive message. Guided by art teacher Ashley Beard, three Advanced Placement art students painted, “We are all =.”

“This is an opportunity for a ‘teachable moment,’” Principal Al Leonard wrote in an email to faculty and staff on Monday. “We’re not going to let those [vandals] dictate how we react.”

The original act of vandalism is still under investigation. Leonard noted that the school has security cameras that may have caught the person or persons responsible on film.

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