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Silver Lake Elementary School suffers ongoing vandalism

By Jeri Chadwell

Silver Lake Elementary School in Stead has been the target of increased vandalism in recent weeks, the school’s principal, Courtney Sego, told media today.

“We have been having some severe vandalism to our school this year,” she said. “We were hit every single day last week. That has gone from graffiti on our ball walls and pavement—and then it went into vandalism on our mobile classrooms. Somebody has kicked in all of the skirtings around them, creating large holes that my students can crawl under if they’re not supervised outside.”

The school’s windows have also been broken and vandalized with gang symbols and graphic drawings of human anatomy.

Sego said the mobile classroom units where skirting has been kicked has caused a serious safety issue.

“Last week, we also put plywood up just as a makeshift [solution] to cover it up so kids wouldn’t get hurt. The day after we did that, the plywood was ripped off and further damage was done to the mobiles the next night,” she said.

The vandalism is upsetting to the students at the school, Sego added.

“Our kids come here every single day, and they need to come to a safe place.”

“They don’t understand who’s doing this or why it’s happening,” she said. “When I’m out at duty in the morning, I have many kids who come to me, ‘Mrs. Sego, why is this happening? Why are people ruining our school?’ It’s very upsetting to them, and it’s harming the educational system here for them because now they’re worried about what’s happening to their school during the day, during the night and what it’s going to look like the next day when they come back.”

Sego said there are currently no leads pointing to who is perpetrating the vandalism. She said she does know, however, that older children often come to the campus during the evening to use charging outlets on the outside of the school’s mobile classrooms. 

The vandalism has been going on since before she became the school’s principal in August 2020, and the damages are expensive. They’re at least in the thousands of dollars so far, though the school district doesn’t have an accurate estimate of total damages  at this time. 

“Every time a ball wall is graffitied on, it costs about $1,600 to sandblast that off,” she said. That has happened multiple times this year, resulting in at least several thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

Sego said she has no idea how much it will cost to fix the skirting on the mobile units. She also noted that Silver Lake Elementary school “is on the top of our list for the most broken windows in the school district.”

“This is affecting our kids. It’s affecting our community,and I would ask that if you see something, please say something,” she said. “Our kids come here every single day, and they need to come to a safe place. So, if you see something, please say something and help us get this stopped.”

Secret Witness is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible. Tipsters can call or text 322-4900 and may remain anonymous.

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