Vandals hit schools and bus barn

A spree of vandalism last Tuesday morning left the school district reeling — causing $6,000 in damage and leaving more than 20 windows and doors broken just three weeks before school starts.

“It just breaks your heart,” said Bob Hennessey, Vashon Island School District board chair. “People are working so hard to serve your kids and conserve every nickel for their education, and this is just such a waste.”

At 3:20 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, the phone rang at the home of Dave Wilke, Vashon Island School District facilities director.

Two front windows and two doors had been smashed at McMurray Middle School, and Wilke was the first to know.

“Being sound asleep, and being awakened to hear there’s glass breaking at McMurray isn’t a terribly settling thing,” he said. “Get-ting to the school and seeing it, it was frustrating and angering.”

Wilke called the police, and as deputies were writing an incident report at McMurray, a custodian at Vashon High School reported hearing suspicious noises there. But by the time deputies arrived, the perpetrators were gone.

They left, however, a trail of destruction, throwing rocks through more than a dozen windows at the A and F buildings. The A building houses the high school’s office; the art and band classrooms are in building F, closest to the Vashon public pool.

Buses at the bus garage on S.W. 204th Street, next to the public pool, had also been vandalized.

The school district was in the process of installing security cameras at the high school and bus barn last week, but did not have them in place on Tuesday.

A glass repair company from Seattle will fix the windows this week, costing the district $6,000.

Wilke said there have been 10 cases of vandalism at the three schools and the bus barn in the last year. First Student/Laidlaw provides the district’s bus transportation; the company pays for vandalism to buses. But the district has paid about $5,000 out-of-pocket in the last year because of vandalism at the schools, he said.

“It’s a pain, because we’re trying to get things running for school,” he said. “Sixteen man-hours just to do cleanup and secure the school — that’s a big hit, when you’re T-minus three weeks for school.”

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