Two Santa Monica schools vandalized

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SANTA MONICA (CNS) – Children returning today to two Santa Monica schools that share a campus will find signs of an attack by vandals today, school officials said.

John Muir Elementary School at 2526 Sixth Street and Santa Monica Alternative School House at 2525 Fifth Street suffered what Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati termed “significant” damage Saturday night in the library, cafeteria, stage, teacher’s lounge, book room and exterior areas.

“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 in an email to parents, guardians and staff.

“Heavy damage was done 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,” he said.

Muir had been set up for a fifth grade graduation ceremony, with programs set on chairs and banners held in the cafeteria. “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.

“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’,” he said.

Several classrooms would not be ready when students returned from the weekend for the final week of school, he said. Some students will spend their last few days of the school year in alternative spaces.

“Unfortunately, the Muir / SMASH site has been vandalized two other times since February; however, this is the worst incident,” Drati said. He asked that anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the neighborhood Saturday night report it to the Santa Monica police department or leave an anonymous tip on the  WeTip line at 800-782-7463 or online at http://www.WeTip.com.

Santa Monica voters approved Measure SMS in November to fund enhanced security systems including upgraded intrusion alarms, perimeter cameras and electronic locks, Drati said.

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