(Orange, Texas)

Local News

June 25, 2014

Local school struck by vandals

ORANGEFIELD — A campus at a local school district was vandalized this past Friday.

Orangefield Junior High School was vandalized either late Thursday, June 19 or during the early morning hours of Friday, June 20, according to information provided by Dr. Stephen Patterson, Superintendent of the Orangefield Independent School District.

“We have approximately $15,000 to $20,000 worth of damage at the junior high campus,” Patterson said. “You always deal with this kind of stuff during the summer, but it is usually more on a nuisance level than on a scale of this magnitude.”

The bulk of the damage appears to come from paint being thrown around hallways, smearked on lockers and in some classrooms which happened to be unlocked due to summer work. According to Patterson, the paint was being used by workers to paint classrooms.

Other damages include ceiling tiles being torn out, glue and hand sanitizer being spread across chairs and desks in classrooms, garbage cans turned over with contents spread across floors, the defacing of school property with vulgar language and graphic drawings.

A trophy was found broken inside the junior high gymnasium, and a cafeteria chair had been thrown on top of a basketball goal as well. A science lab was also covered in cornstarch.

According to a press release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a call from the district at approximately 7:35 a.m, June 20, from the custodial staff at Orangefield Junior High.

Evidence gathered at the school has led investigators to four juveniles between the ages of 13 to 15, who have reportedly confessed, according to information provided by Deputy Chief Clint Hodgkinson of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Two of the teenagers are students in the Orangefield school district, while the other two are from Beaumont and were staying with relatives in Orangefield at the time of the incident.

“We’re unsure how the juveniles gained access into the building at this time,” Patterson added.

Patterson said instead of typical summer work and maintenance being done, custodial staff and maintenance employees have been busy cleaning up the damage done by the perpetrators.

“This is just putting us behind on the other things our people were supposed to be doing this week,” he continued. “We have filed a claim with our insurance company, and now we have to wait and see what they say about the damages.”

The investigation continues into this case and the district will reportedly pursue charges against the teenagers for the damages.

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