Remember when writing graffiti on the bathroom walls was forbidden? If a student was caught defacing school property it would mean getting expelled or “licks” by the principal.

Well times, as they say, are a changing.

School districts are now encouraging wall graffiti with positive messages painted on by the teachers.

Assistant Superintendent Tommy Corcoran decided to take it a step further and asked students in the Art & Media department if they were interested in taking on a project.

“I had read about the idea on the internet about schools wanting to spread positive messages and we had found some graffiti on the junior high bathroom walls and that’s why we decided to start there,” said Corcoran.

Corcoran presented the idea to GRISD administration and they supported the idea. When the art and media class was given the idea, two high school girls jumped at the chance.

The girls created graphic designs and printed them on an HP latex printer. The printer was purchased with a grant from the LDL Foundation. The vinyl stickers were installed in two different girls restrooms at the GRJHS.

The art class uses the printer to create stickers, door wraps, banners, yard signs and window perfs for the school and community. GRHS principal Kelly Shackleford stepped in and wanted to take the idea even further. He wanted the class to start using their talents to brand the school. The school is decked out all over with designs from the class.

The GRISD administration is so impressed that they have offered to pay for the materials for three vinyl stickers for each of the campuses. Each campus is getting in on the idea and has been finding ways to fund more stickers.

Graffiti fever has now spread through town and students are being approached to come up with ideas outside the school.

“This not only takes our branding outside the campus but gives the students accountability and business experience. They can also have a portfolio before leaving high school,” said Shackleford.

Ashlyn Williams is one of those students. If you have been to Dairy Queen then you have seen her creations. In fact, the manager is so impressed that she has been asked to create designs for DQ in Cleburne, Burleson, and Alvarado.

“It’s exciting to see my art on display in town. I like that I have a head start on how to deal with clients and learning how to listen to their wants versus what I want to do creatively and then blending them,” said Williams.

“I am excited to see how we are incorporating not only real-world experiences for the students but also how they are using the graphics tools on social media in a responsible way and this will go far in helping brand the school,” said Randy Haney, the art and media teacher.