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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

School Seeks Funds After Vandals Strike

November 16, 2000|ZANTO PEABODY

Mulholland Middle School is seeking financial help to replace computers and televisions destroyed by vandals over the weekend, Principal John White said Wednesday.

The screens of six Apple iMacs recently purchased with a technology grant were smashed and three classrooms were ransacked and painted with graffiti, the principal said.

Although no arrests have been made, White said he believes students from nearby Birmingham High School may be responsible for the vandalism because he has had verbal disagreements with high school skateboarders who hang around the middle school.

"There may be a connection between the high school and the graffiti painted on the walls," White said. "One group of kids there have become a big problem. I've run them off campus several evenings. I hope this is not vengeance for me getting stern with them."

He estimated that replacing the computers, a broken television and a stolen notebook computer will cost from $14,000 to $20,000, most of which will not be covered by insurance.

A maintenance worker found the rooms in disarray Monday morning with derogatory slogans and "You'll never catch me" spray-painted on the walls.

The vandals broke windows 6 to 8 feet off the ground to enter the building, and detectives were able to lift fingerprints from the scene, said Lt. Stephen Dodson of the Los Angeles Unified School District's San Fernando Valley Police Division. Investigators believe the break-in occurred between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.

The three teachers who use the vandalized classrooms held classes in other rooms Monday and Tuesday while the graffiti was being painted over, White said.

To make contributions, contact Mulholland Middle School at (818) 345-5446.

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