School vandals strike again

Posted: Monday, June 02, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Vandals spray-painted green and gold graffiti over one-third of an Anchorage high school and pumped glue into locks on classroom doors and lockers on the building, causing an estimated $50,000 in damage.

The new round of vandalism angered schools Superintendent Carol Comeau who surveyed the damage Saturday at Dimond High School.

The spray-painted messages, some profane and blasted across windows, walls and floors, trashed Dimond and lauded Service High School.

All the spray paint, streamers and string were green and gold, the Service colors. Among the words sprayed on walls: ''D Sucks,'' ''SHS'' and ''Service Cougars.'' Dimond is consistently misspelled ''Diomond.''

The damage all occurred within the original Dimond High, which will be used by Wendler Middle School students this fall when the new Dimond High opens.

''It's clear somebody is trying to send the message that it was Service, but it may not be Service,'' Comeau said.

Whoever trashed Dimond this weekend apparently got into the school sometime early Saturday by heaving a football-sized chunk of cement through a window near the pool entrance, said Anchorage police officer Lee Rohwer.

This is the latest in a series of high-profile vandalism attacks on district property. Early in May someone set fires at the new South Anchorage high school south of Huffman Road. Vandals in March cut brake lines on 50 school buses in Eagle River. Last June, two boys destroyed equipment at the district's South Anchorage maintenance facility. Destruction at the new Dimond construction site in December 2001 caused more than $100,000 in damage.

The vandalism has outraged the community and school officials and prompted debate among lawmakers in Juneau. The Legislature this session increased from $10,000 to $15,000 the amount in monetary damages a district can sue a minor's parents for when a child is convicted of vandalism.

Comeau said $15,000 is not enough.

''If there's a cost, (the vandals) should pay. I don't care if they're 50 years old and still paying us back!''

Dimond has an alarm system, but school officials said it wasn't turned on Friday night. The district also contracts with Pinkerton Security Services to monitor the high schools at night. Matthew Tucker, a security guard with Pinkerton, said a guard was at Dimond on Friday night and early Saturday.

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