SDA Locks Vandalized Once Again
May 17, 2018
SDA was hit with another round of vandalism Thursday morning, when staff discovered more locks filled with a hard substance, according to Assistant Principal Katie Bendix. The event follows Monday morning’s incident, when students were kept out of classrooms for up to 45 minutes due to glue in locks across campus.
Administration does not know whether the two incidents were connected, but the substance used Thursday was gray and not definitively glue, while on Monday it was an adhesive, said Bendix.
She said it did not likely add to the damage costs because it was “much less strong” than the original glue. Principal Adam Camacho estimated that the vandalism from Monday could cost “upwards of $20,000-30,000.”
Whether the glued doors could be considered a prank or a mere act of vandalism has not been determined, as the people responsible have not yet been identified, said Assistant Principal Celeste Abdelnaby. Anonymous tip websites are open for access to anyone who wishes to provide information.
“We have gotten some leads from the “We Tip” website and we encourage people to provide any helpful information they may have. The website absolutely works and we get tips from it all the time for all different sorts of things. It is a well vetted system that is completely anonymous,” said Abdelnaby.
“We are encouraging people to keep an ear to the ground even if you can’t substantiate the information you have,” said Bendix. “We would rather find out it was a rumor or someone was joking rather than have information slip past us.”
The first to discover the doors were glued shut on campus both days was head custodian Gabriel Figueroa, who soon after notified SDA administrators, Abdelnaby said.
“Gabriel, our wonderful head custodian, was the first to realize the doors were glued shut very early in the morning. He sent an email to the administrators to let us know. The message had been sent out before six o’clock in the morning,” she said.
Employees had to be pulled from the whole district due to the issue, and each employee who had to work longer than usual was paid overtime increasing the cost of damage significantly, said Abdelnaby.
“I’ve worked at another school where this was done and at that school it was $30 to $40,000,” said Abdelnaby.
If the vandal were a senior, the consequences could include the loss of privilege to walk in graduation as well as being arrested for a felony, she said.
“I’m still speaking hypothetically because we don’t know the circumstances of what happened but rather the extent of the damage. If it were a senior we would not withhold their diploma, but their privilege to walk in graduation would be seriously compromised,” said Abdelnaby.
Camacho said administration, the district and law enforcement will “press for restitution” if the the vandal is caught.
“If we find out who it is, it’ll be handled fairly, swiftly and on to the next, because we have other more important things to take care of here,” he said.
“To me, there’s no difference whether you’re shoving glue in the keyholes or throwing bricks through a window. It’s all the same thing,” he continued. “It’s intentionally damaging school property in a school that we all love, and that hurts.”
The substance used by the vandal has yet to be identified, as it was strong enough to keep students and teachers locked outside their classrooms for over 30 minutes.
“According to the locksmiths, they do not think it was super glue. They are experts on adhesives but we do not know what exactly was used,” said Abdelnaby.
Camacho said it was a “gel-type glue” other than super glue, but the specific type is unknown.
The incident caused extensive damage to school property, and due to the number of doors that were affected, the crime may be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor, according to Abdelnaby.
“As far as how much damage was done every exterior lock was affected, the shops were not hit and the 30s were safe as well. Practically every other lock was ruined, from a parts perspective it will be very costly as every lock is being replaced twice,” said Abdelnaby. Temporary locks will be used first to immediately secure the rooms until they can get permanent locks, she said.
Students were sent to homeroom in the place of first period, changing the class schedule and interfering with the plans of those taking AP tests.
“Our first priority yesterday was to get kids in the rooms- There were kids who had AP tests and their review session was impacted by that. People needed to get into their classrooms as fast as possible for many reasons, which is why the district went to the extent of using blow torches to melt and pick the glue off,” said Abdelnaby.
Abdelnaby said that the crime upset staff and students as well, who made efforts to show maintenance workers and crew that they were grateful for the help.
“Some students brought in bagels and signed cards with notes of gratitude for all of the people that spent time helping the school. Students were very sorry and wanted them to know that this does not represent them as a school,” said Abdelnaby.