On Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14, Leesville Road High School was vandalized, resulting in the relocation of classes, extensive cleaning and an ongoing investigation.
What got vandalized?
The streaks of vandalism began Thursday night, with seven buses being damaged in both the student and bus parking lot. The buses had windows smashed out, but the majority of the damage came from fire extinguisher fluid. The vandals had dispensed fire extinguisher fluid on the buses, making it very difficult to clean up.
Friday evening, there were similar damages. Thirteen buses were impacted. Fire extinguisher fluid was again dispersed throughout the buses. Additionally, two of the activity bus tires were destroyed. One of the tires was completely slashed and flat; the other tire had cuts and punctures in it, making it unsafe for travel.
Finally, that same evening, two trailers were vandalized. Windows were knocked out, one on each of the trailers, and again, fire extinguisher fluid covered the interior of the trailers. Also, the window at the end of the 100’s hallway was broken into and the hallway was sprayed by fire extinguishers.
On Friday morning, the buses were late due to the damage caused on Thursday. They needed to be clean before returning to the normal bus schedule. Some of the buses weren’t cleared to roll out, causing delays in student pickups on Friday.
Also, a band competition, scheduled for Saturday, was impacted by the activity bus’s punctured tires. The band had to scramble for buses and ensure they could still arrive to the competition at Clayton High School. “They were able to do that but with some additional headaches and scrambling that they didn’t really need on a Saturday morning,” said Dr. AJ Muttillo, Leesville principal.
Because of the destruction of the trailers, Monday classes, usually in the trailers, were relocated to the Main Building. Many of the materials inside were either damaged or destroyed.
“A lot of our teaching materials and stuff now are online, and the kids have their textbooks. Teachers need less and less stuff to do their jobs, since it’s all in the cloud.There is something good about that I would say,” said Angela Scioli, Leesville teacher whose classroom was affected by the vandalism.
Luckily, however, classes were back in the trailers the next day. “All you can really do is control how you react to things. There’s no way to control the situation. There is no point to get upset about it because it’s not going to help anything,” said Scioli.
The Cleanup Process
In order to get Leesville back to normal, an extensive cleanup process had to occur. First,
the buses were cleaned by Wake County Transportation. Based on the construct of the bus, they were able to spray water throughout the bus floor and let it run out.
“Parents pay taxes, and the taxes go to the public school system. So essentially, [the vandals] are wasting parents’ money and wasting everybody’s time,” said Kathryn Swyschtch, sophomore and one of Angela Scioli’s students.
In terms of what happened in the school building and trailers, the cleanup process was run by both the Wake County Custodial Services as well as Leesville’s own custodians.
“Our custodial crew really worked on those trailers to have them immaculate. I mean it’s incredible what they did to clean it up, so they are usable again for students,” said Muttillo.
Leesville’s administration did not release specifics about the ongoing investigation, but took immediate action in order to find those responsible for the vandalism. They are coordinating with Wake County’s security department and several different law enforcement agencies.
Those responsible for the investigation are canvassing the scene, looking at videos, and more to obtain all possible information regarding the incident.
“It may be a couple of months, and we still may have leads and be able to hold someone accountable, even if we can’t figure it out right away. So we’ll continue to work and continue to remain hopeful that we can hold the people accountable who did this,” said Muttillo.
Vandalism in the Past
There has been vandalism in the past at Leesville but never to this extent. Buses have been hit and maybe one or two fire extinguishers used, but — not to minimize the impact — no other vandalism attempt has been to this caliber.
“We’ve had things throughout the years here that we’ve had to deal with. I don’t remember anything two nights in a row, which is frustrating when you start to see patterns of vandalism. You think about it differently than an isolated event here or there,” said Muttillo.
“You don’t see a lot of this anymore. Like even around my neighborhood, I used to see kids that would do graffiti, and you don’t see that very much anymore. Kids have better things to do, like they have phones and social media and video games,” said Scioli.
Even students were surprised; “I was shocked that someone would do that. It didn’t seem like there was much motivation for doing something like that,” Austin McNeill, sophomore.
Leesville’s administration continues to look into this case and hope the “patterns of vandalism” cease.