Compton school officials ordered round-the-clock security and scrambled to find space for students at Whaley Middle School this week after a fire damaged two rooms and destroyed scores of textbooks.
The fire early Sunday was the fourth at Whaley this school year, and all apparently were set deliberately, school and fire officials said. The four fires have damaged 11 classrooms, causing about $1.3 million in damage.
Security guards will patrol the school around the clock the rest of the school year, Principal W. Chas. Littles said.
Students were sent home at midday Monday so that officials could inspect the damage and air out four smoke-filled classrooms. Classes resumed Tuesday, but some students were reassigned to other rooms.
Two portable units will be added to the campus later this month, Littles said. The school district had set up four portable classrooms at Whaley to replace rooms damaged in the other three fires.
Teacher Charles Bradley said the fires have damaged two of his classrooms this year. "I have to pray from the time I leave my house to the parking lot," he said. "I never know what to expect when I get here."
District officials have offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
The last school year at Whaley was marred by a series of student clashes and parent protests over what they termed deplorable conditions.