Perpetrators expel fire extinguishers, paint throughout campus and classrooms.
By Sam Catanzaro
Over the weekend two schools in Santa Monica were broken into and heavily vandalized.
According to Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), on the evening of Saturday, June 8 John Muir Elementary School and Santa Monica Alternative Schoolhouse (SMASH) classrooms, library, cafetorium, stage, teacher’s lounge, bookroom and exterior areas, were vandalized. The two schools are located on the same campus between 5th and 6th Street on Ocean Park Boulevard.
“The damage is significant. We are deeply troubled by this criminal act against our beloved schools. We are working today to clean it up as much as possible, but unfortunately, a few rooms and spaces will not be usable for the last week of school,” Drati said. “It does not appear that anything was stolen.”
According to Drari, the perpetrators caused heavy damage by expelling numerous fire extinguishers indoors on books, walls, flooring in classrooms and the library, breaking windows, destroying furniture, technology and materials, dumping cans of paint on exteriors, and flooding rooms by turning on the sinks.
Before the incident occurred, Muir was cleaned and set up in advance for their fifth-grade graduation scheduled for today (Monday) at 9 a.m. with programs set on chairs and banners hung in the cafetorium.
“Unfortunately banners were pulled down and the room is a mess. The operations team is onsite and working to restore as much as can be for our important ceremony and celebration in the morning, as planned,” Drati said Sunday. “Several classrooms will not be restored by tomorrow, or this final week of school. Please speak gently to your children about this incident as they may find they are in an alternative space for the last few days of school. Our teachers and administrators will make this transition as seamless and positive as possible. We recognize that this may be upsetting to some students. We will have counselors available at school as needed to meet and console with students about this crime to their’ home.’ “
This is the third time the Muir/SMASH site has been vandalized this year, however, according to Drati, the most recent incidnet is the worst.
“We need your help. If you heard or saw anything suspicious happening in the neighborhood Saturday night, we ask that you report it to the Santa Monica Police Department, who is investigating this crime,” Drati said.
According to Drati, the campus is currently in the midst of updating their security and surveillance system, meaning authorities are relying on neighbors to find the perpetrators.
The public can leave anonymous tips on the WeTip line, (800) 7820-7463 or online, www.WeTip.com.