(credit: Austen Hensel)
No student wants to go to school and find that their home for nine months of the year was defaced.
However, that is what greeted Centennial students and staff Monday morning. Our high school was vandalized over the weekend. The criminal act included paint on walls of various school buildings, displaying phrases such as “A$AP” and “KN19HTS.” More hate-filled and obscene drawings were carried out, including swastikas and male genitalia.
The attack was carried out across the campus, with some notable acts. The phrase “It’s just a prank” was painted on the stadium, and an Assistant Principal Parking sign was cut from its base and planted in the center of the field, damaging artificial turf. An activity bus and the band trailer were also defaced.
What investigators do know at this time was obtained from the plethora of security cameras. “We haven’t identified anyone specifically, but we do have some images of some individuals,” Principal Anthony Newbold said, “We’ve witnessed three individuals.” This makes it clear that this was not a lone wolf act.
“This is coming from 1:30 in the morning to maybe 5:00 in the morning,” head custodian Eduardo Sanchez said. “The people had the time, and were coming with the tools [referring to the sign being cut].” Sanchez added that Roswell police have the sign as evidence so they can check it for fingerprints.
Whether this was a security flaw is out of the question. “All of our security protocol were in place, as far as gates being locked,” said Athletic Director Jeff Burch. “A vehicle wouldn’t be able to get on campus.”
Sanchez’s already difficult job was made even harder. When he arrived yesterday morning, Sanchez was greeted with an entire wall covered with graffiti. Since most of the material painted around campus is inappropriate, he was asked to remove the most offensive graffiti first. He scrubbed off most of the paint that covered the side entrance wall, as well as the swastikas near the main entrance to the school. He also scrubbed off paint that covered the stadium walls, and removed the parking sign from the middle of the Centennial C. When asked about the mess that covered all of campus, a look of sadness came upon his face as he wondered why someone would ever do this to our school.
“This is crazy, I don’t understand why someone would do this,” Sanchez said. He added us how disappointed he was and how surprised he was by this hateful act.
In a statement sent out to teachers and staff, Dr. Newbold said, “At times I feel like I sound like a broken record when students from the Loft, Accolade, or the yearbook ask me what I love about Centennial. My answer always centers around the diversity and acceptance of students from varying backgrounds and abilities. I love how there is something here for everyone. We have Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Black, White, Latino, Asian, rich, impoverished, gifted, special education students, and a host of other subgroups. This type of behavior, this hate, will not be tolerated,” he stressed.