Whitefield School Employees Cleaning Up After Vandalism


Tuesday, July 28th 2009, 12:27 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

WHITEFIELD, OK - Haskell County Sheriff Brian Hale says three boys, ages 12, 12 and 14, were taken into custody in connection with major vandalism at a small elementary school Tuesday morning.

The students of Whitefield Public Schools in Haskell County will start classes on schedule, despite a rash of vandalism and even a fire that destroyed one classroom and the school's fitness center over the past 5 days.

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Whitefield School Superintendent Brenda Edwards says employees are now busy cleaning up.

"We've got a good, strong community and this will just make us stronger," Edwards said while standing outside of the school buildings Tuesday morning. "If we have to have classes in the church, we're going to have classes."

Firefighters from at least five area fire departments responded to a fire at the school at 12:37 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Fire destroyed a portable building that destroyed one classroom and the school's fitness center, as well as a portion of the new gymnasium floor that had recently been completed.

The fire comes on the heels of a rash of vandalism that caused an estimated $400,000 worth of damage to the school.

Late Thursday night someone broke into the school, overturned lockers and bookshelves, expended fire extinguishers and spray painted walls and computers.

"I'd like to be able to forgive them at some point, but right now, I'm not there," said Whitefield School Superintendent Brenda Edwards.  "There are not things that have been stolen here; this was just pure violence and hate.  It's hard to take sometimes."

The sheriff's office says the three juveniles also defaced a school bus Sunday night and rags had been stuffed into the gas inlets of two different vehicles, one a school bus, the other a truck at the county barn.

Edwards said the school's insurance would cover most of the costs for repairs and cleanup.

All three juveniles remain in custody on $150,000 bond each.  Sheriff Brian Hale says their investigation will be turned over to the DA's office for prosecution.  The three juveniles will be transfered to a juvenile holding facility in the meantime. 

The Stigler News Sentinel assisted with this story.