A small Nova Scotia community is reeling after racist graffiti was found spray-painted on school buses, road signs and a primary to Grade 12 school.

According to Antigonish District RCMP, the graffiti was painted between 8 and 9 p.m. Monday on and around East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery, N.S. and “included profanity and derogatory comments about both Indigenous people and the African Nova Scotian Community.”

“That is really terrible,” area resident Wilma Clyke told CTV Atlantic near the school. “And at a school where all different kinds of people go to? It shouldn’t be.”

Many of the school’s students hail from the nearby Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation.

“Unfortunately, it’s ignorance,” Darlene Prosper, who sits on the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation’s band council, told CTV Atlantic. “I pray for the people that wrote it. You know, there are obviously things going on with them to do such things, I guess. So we’re going to need some healing here.”

At East Antigonish Education Centre, students said that the racist graffiti made for a difficult school day.

“I know my First Nations friends are really, really upset and confused,” student Abby Brow told CTV Atlantic on Tuesday. “Why would anyone do that?”

By noon Tuesday, most of the graffiti on the school itself had been removed or covered up. RCMP were also at the school investigating. According to police, surveillance video from the school and nearby businesses may help find whoever is responsible.

“With the video evidence that (we were) able to obtain in this particular situation, it should be very handy with the investigators,” RCMP Const. Morgan MacPherson said.

Strait Regional School Board officials were also on hand to offer support.

“We take this incident very seriously,” the school board’s superintendent, Ford Rice, said. “(We) are working very hard to make sure that our schools are safe learning environments for all students.”

On Tuesday, the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation’s band council also sent home students for the day at 11 a.m.

“Whether that’s a right or wrong decision, at the time, I was concerned for the safety of our kids,” Prosper said.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald