Vandals strike Drew Central High School

When faculty, staff and students began to arrive on the campus of Drew Central High School Friday morning, they were met with an ugly surprise — the school had been broken into and vandalized over night.

Superintendent Mike Johnston said that a teacher had initially found the vandalism by entering the building and falling because of a slippery substance on the floor.

“Thankfully, the teacher was not seriously injured. But, she did fall,” he said. “She was able to call and let us know about the situation before someone else came into the building and was injured because of the slippery floors.”

The Monticello Police Department was dispatched to the scene and the investigation of the incident is still on going. According to Police Chief Eddy Deaton, there is a group of people of interest, including students at Drew Central. Johnston added that some of the students responsible for the high school’s vandalism have been identified by investigators.

“We do have a list of those who were involved,” Johnston said. “However, I can’t say how many of those on the list have been eliminated and the police are still investigating the incident. I really don’t know who has been taken off the list and who’s been confirmed as an active participant.”

As of press time, no charges have been filed against any of those involved. However, Johnston said he has instructed Melissa Vincent, high school principal, to handle the discipline of those responsible.

“I’ve asked the high school principal to evaluate and to make recommendations (on punishments for the students),” Johnston said.

He told a group of students Friday morning that those responsible would be “punished severely” for their part in the prank.

Besides making the floors slippery with a clear unknown substance, food products such as pick pickles, ketchup, mustard and soda covered the floors in the main hall. The teacher’s work room was also vandalized. The copy machine was pushed away from the window and paper was strewn throughout the building, chairs were over turned, and glass was broken in the hallway.

Johnston said a fire extinguisher was used to cover an entire classroom, including electrical equipment, with dry chemical. He said it’s expected that all the equipment in the room will have to replaced.

“We called in a local cleaning service to clean the room because of the chemical that had been expelled,” he added. “We are still calculating the damage, but we are estimating right now the cost will be between $4,000 and $6,000 in damages.”

Johnston said the District hasn’t received a bill for the services provided by cleaning service, but he expects the bill to in the neighborhood of $4,000.

“The bill will be forwarded to those who were responsible for the act,” he said.

Law enforcement officials said entry was made into the building through a window.

Johnston met with the students Friday morning to explain how the prank is not funny.

“I understand that those responsible for this prank think this is funny, but all this accomplished was for us to lose a day of instruction,” Johnston said. “We have a few weeks of school left and that’s what we are going to do; have school.”

Johnston said he was a prankster during his youth, but he never pulled a prank that caused such property damage or anything that could possibly hurt someone.

“Our concern is with our custodian,” Johnston said. “She will be retiring here in a few weeks after many years of service to our school. If she had been the first person in the building, she could’ve been seriously hurt. When you are older, your bones tend to break a little easier than they do when you are young.”

The vandalism disrupted the Advance Placement course exams but their times were adjusted later in the day to accommodate the students and the cleanup team.

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