Vandals strike at EA

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
Tears were falling Monday as parents, alumni, teachers and students spoke of the vandalism that plagued the beginning of their homecoming week at Escambia Academy.
Blue and red spray paint littered the sides of every building on campus, including the inside of the newly remodeled field house, spelling out profanities and racial slurs as well as the initials of rival high schools Escambia County and Northview.
Principal Betty Warren was the first to arrive at the school and see the damage.
Warren said after calling the sheriff’s office she called ECHS principal, Harvey Means.
Sheliah Sawyer, a computer science teacher at EA, said she arrived about the same time as the students and was immediately distraught.
Regaining composure, she said, “It breaks my heart to know that someone has so little respect for themselves.”
Melanie Hendrix, an alumni whose children attended EA, choked back tears as she scrubbed the word “crackers” off of the sidewalk.
Christy Husky and her husband Ronnie have four children attending EA and were out at the school first thing Monday morning helping to clean up.
Students Jesse Sanks, a junior, and Nick Mills, a senior, said they were surprised and mad to see the vandalism.
Many people spoke of the traditional homecoming activity of rolling homes and rival schools as being harmless fun, but said the vandalism went too far.
“It’s one thing to roll, but to vandalize, that’s a little beyond,” EA chairman of the board Chris Kirk said.
Sawyer agreed with Kirk saying, “We’ve always rolled. We’ve rolled them, and they’ve rolled us. It’s done in good-natured fun. I’m not about to point fingers. You could go to Northview and Escambia County High School and they would be just as horrified as we are. I hurt for them too. Their student body is as good as ours. It’s just that one bad group. This is a rarity.”
ECHS student government association sponsor Andrea Chance was shocked when she found out about the vandalism.
Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said he could not comment on the investigation at this time, but that there are leads they are following up on.
Smith also said for anyone with information to contact the Sheriff’s office directly and advise the culprits to turn themselves in.
Kirk said all the school board is going to ask for is restitution for the damages.
Teacher Sheliah Sawyer looked for the positive in the situation.

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