Vandals strike two East Palo Alto schools

Classes have been canceled today at an East Palo Alto middle school after school administrators returned from the holiday weekend to find windows smashed, laptops stolen, televisions and computer screens broken and graffiti splashed on the walls.

Edison-McNair Academy Principal Ramon Honea said this morning that his campus canceled classes for the day so that police could finish their investigation and the classrooms and campus could be cleaned.

"There is graffiti on the back wall of the building, and lots of window damage," Honea said.

The vandals smashed windows, broke television and computer screens, destroyed LED and overhead projectors and stole at least five laptops, Honea said. Around 80 percent of the classrooms were entered and a few of the eighth grade classrooms were severely damaged.

"Because of the classrooms that were targeted I think that there is some student influence," Honea said. "It seems to be eighth-grade focused."

Edison-McNair has around 400 students, ranging from the fifth to eighth grade.

Vandals also damaged Cesar Chaves Elementary School, about a mile and a half away from Edison-McNair. However, the elementary school did not sustain enough damage to close the campus today, and students are attending classes.

According to the East Palo Alto Police Department, the vandalism took place on both Saturday and Sunday nights.

Today was supposed to be the first day of the second semester and missing a day is "going to affect the flow of the schedule." Edison-McNair students will have to attend school for one extra day at the end of the year since classes were canceled today, Honea said.

But Honea is trying to look on the bright side of things. "We are hoping to use this experience to make a strong school and community that comes together against stuff like this," Honea said.

Administrators will be speaking with students when they arrive Wednesday to inform them about the vandalism. School officials have decided to leave one non-essential room in its current state of damage to show students what happened to their campus.

"The three tenets of our school are safety, respect and responsibility. This breaks all three of them," he said. "I feel like I'm in the aftermath of a hurricane," Honea said. "It makes no sense, but we have to deal with it."

Officers will be on both campuses throughout the day as investigation into the incident continues.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm

This is horrible. Bay City, would you follow-up and let us know what the principals need in terms of donations to get the classrooms up and ready for students?

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