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Vandals Trash Classrooms

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, May 1 2012 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Tue, May 1 2012 at 7:44 PM

On Tuesday, people worked all day to clean up classrooms at Jackson Middle School in Yreka.

Two special education classrooms trashed by vandals on Sunday.

The kids, an already vulnerable group, have been displaced. Their very own work, sat ruined among the trash.

"It was a cruel, senseless act against students," said Siskiyou County Superintendent of Schools.

"It just really pisses me off," he continued.

Yreka Police said the classrooms were a total disaster.

"[There was] spray paint on computers, computer monitors, chalkboards, windows, desks [...] sinks and toilets had been plugged and water had been allowed to overflow," said Lieutenant David Gamache of the Yreka Police Department.

He said initially officials thought the damage to be around$30,000. But that number has since gone up.

School officials said the vandals caused between $100,000 and $250,000 in damage when they completely destroyed the classrooms.

"We found one ream of paper that wasn't destroyed," recalled Superintendent Walters.

He continued, "fortunately we have insurance that will cover portions of it."

However, insurance isn't expected to cover all of it.

"This teacher over the past few years has spent her own money acquiring laptops, Wii consoles and bean bag chairs to make life for the students a lot better," said Lt. Gamache.

Adding insult to injury, the vandalism came at the worst time as districts face big budget cuts.

"We could have used this money to provide more staff and resources for our kids," said Walters.

The Yreka Police were able to track down the suspects. Two young men are in custody. One of them, a 14-year-old juvenile, was arrested Monday. The other person involved was 21-year-old Kevin Perez of Yreka. Police said both of them were caught on security cameras in the area.

"During questioning there was no hatred towards the school or anything...just said to be a stupid move by one of the suspects," said Lt. Gamache.

Both are being charged with felony vandalism.

21-year-old Kevin Perez could also be facing a charge of child endangerment since police said he brought a 14-year-old along on his vandalism spree.

As for the case of vandalism that happened a month ago, police said they have no evidence linking the two suspects to that incident.

It's expected to take 4-5 days for crews to finish cleaning up the mess left in the classrooms.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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