Police arrested two teenage boys Sunday afternoon in connection with the ransacking of classrooms and painting of anti-Semitic graffiti at the West Valley Hebrew Academy in Woodland Hills.
Los Angeles Police Sgt. Rolland Cannon said the boys lived nearby but did not attend the school.
Police were called about 5 p.m. when a neighbor heard glass breaking at the school.
Officers saw boys running from the 12-classroom private school, Cannon said.
Alan Shapiro, president of the academy, which is administered by Beit Hamidrash Temple, talked to the boys while they were in police custody.
"One of them was laughing," Shapiro said. "One appeared to be crying. I told police we want to pursue this to the fullest extent."
Police said swastikas and racial epithets marred walls and chalkboards in eight classrooms. Windows were broken and schoolbooks were ripped apart.
Shapiro estimated the damage at $100,000.
He said the school board was expected to meet this morning to decide whether to cancel classes for the 200-plus students until the graffiti could be removed.
About a dozen Beit Hamidrash leaders who skipped services to survey the damage conducted their evening prayer in the parking lot.
Beit Hamidrash Rabbi Zev Don Rauch, a former principal of the 11-year-old school, said the campus had been vandalized three or four months ago.
"Before, it was a little vandalism and maybe some paper wrapped around a room," Rauch said. "But nothing nearly to this extent, with all the racial epithets, the hate-crime aspect."
The Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission last month reported a 12% increase in hate crimes countywide in the past year. Officials have not been able to determine whether the increase reflects more incidents or better reporting of hate crimes.
Incidents such as the attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center in 1999, in which white supremacist Buford Furrow is accused of wounding five people and then killing a mail carrier, have created a heightened awareness of hate crimes, officials said.