August 31, 2016 By Sandi Argo
The students and faculty of the Perrin school district were faced with a very big issue right before the school year started. An issue that will likely take the next weeks, and perhaps months, to resolve. Sometime, in the last few days of July, several people broke into the schools and wreaked havoc. According to interim school superintendent, W.R. Tucker, a large amount of damages were done to several of the buildings, in 3 separate incidents over 2 weekends. The Middle school gym was one of the buildings targeted by the group. According to Tucker, the vandals released 2 fire extinguishers into the gym (after breaking down 4 entry doors), causing the contents of the canisters to cover the gym floor, walls and anything else it touched. “It even went back into the dressing rooms” Tucker said. “The residue it left was very slippery. You could tell they had been sliding all over it”. The school was preparing to begin school employee meetings and then classes themselves when the vandals struck, leaving the school in a dire situation. They had to have a material clean-up/restoration team come to their aid in getting things cleaned up.
The vandals hit the elementary school as well. Again, breaking into the school by destroying 4 more doors, the vandals then broke their way into a number of rooms, including the nurse’s office. Walkie-talkies, iPads and even medications were stolen by the individuals. Perhaps one of the costliest of the stolen items were a set of master keys. With those missing, the district had no choice but to install new locks on the doors, costing around $5,000. The total amount of the damages from this has already grown to a staggering $58,000 but all of the reports have not come back from the Sheriff office, and the investigation continues. Tucker says “We might not know yet of everything that was taken. There are things that we won’t realize are missing until we go to use it.” The group also broke into the high school gym, coaches offices and other rooms.
Jack County Sheriff Office has been working to identify the individuals involved, several of which are minors who attend school there. The SO is investigating the roles that each individual played in the incidents. Fortunately, the school had installed a number of cameras. The vandals stole one camera server, thinking that the rest were not working or might have been “dummy” cameras. They found out (the hard way) the cameras were working just fine.
More information will be released as the investigation continues. Names of the accused vandals have not been formally released, and due to the fact that some were minors, may not be once the investigation is complete. Tucker warns “We have to be cognizant of the laws concerning minors, which might make us appear to be tight lipped. I would caution against rumors though. Our silence should not be interpreted as confirmation to any information floating out there. It doesn’t give it any credibility. We may not know the full story right now, but, the facts will come out”.
With the loss of a two members of the Perrin community (in two separate accidents), changes to the administration and staff, the excitement about the start of a new school year has been knocked down a bit. Locals are getting angry about what was done to the school, and are looking for those responsible to be held accountable. Others have passed it on as just a prank, but as one observer stated “If it was supposed to be a prank, it went way too far”.