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Wayne students suspected in school vandalism

May. 17, 2013 @ 11:05 PM

WAYNE, W.Va. — Custodians at Wayne High School discovered thousands of dollars of damage Friday morning, including broken windows, floors doused with vegetable and motor oil, and deer intestines and urine scattered throughout school property, and graduating seniors are the lead suspects.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. R.D. Perry arrived at the school at 8 a.m., about three hours after the school’s custodians arrived to work for the day and discovered the widespread damage. Perry said between 20 and 22 Wayne High seniors have been named as suspects.  

Those students could face felony charges of breaking and entering and destruction of property in addition to a misdemeanor charge of disruption of school function, said Perry.

That decision will be left in the hands of Wayne High and Wayne County Board of Education administrators, who will decide whether to pursue charges during a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, at Spring Valley High School.

The legal consequences are separate from any punishment handed down by Wayne High School, which could mean students will not be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies Wednesday, said Perry.

Wayne High School Principal Sara Stapleton said the investigation was in the hands of the State Police, and she described the incident as “very disappointing.”

“Wayne High School is a smaller school, so we have the advantage of knowing most kids, their parents and their backgrounds,” Stapleton said. “Most of these kids are outstanding students. They’ve walked away with thousands of dollars in scholarships, and they are students who, prior to this, have done nothing but contribute in a positive manner to Wayne High School. It’s more than a disappointment than anything from the perspective of their teachers and school administrators.”

The school sustained what Perry said was “tens of thousands of dollars” in damage.

The breaking and entering charges stem from several broken windows in the school through which the students gained entry, said Perry.

The first thing custodians saw when they entered the school was approximately 1,800 disposable cups filled with water lining the hallway, Perry said. The hallway floors also were doused with vegetable and motor oil.

Deer intestines were found scattered throughout one classroom, and Perry said students poured deer urine, commonly used for hunting, extensively through the property.

“They entered every single building on school grounds, and had poured deer urine inside every room and every hallway,” said Perry. “They hit several floors, namely with rugs and carpets, in every building.”

The damage was so extensive that students at school Friday were forced to remain in the gym, which Perry said was left untouched by the vandals. The students spent the entire instructional day there, said Perry.

He said he has been told it will take custodians from throughout the county working throughout the weekend to clean the damage in time to resume classes on Monday.

The room in which the deer intestines were placed had the most extensive damage, he said.

“The blood from the intestines soaked in between the tiles, and those are going to have to be taken up and replaced,” said Perry. “There are so many health hazards involved with that because of the deer blood. Plus, the school is so old, when you rip that tile up, there is asbestos underneath. There will have to be a special company, outside of the school custodians, to come in and clean that up.”

The students were captured on surveillance cameras at Walmart in Wayne purchasing the items that were used during the incident. The students had turned the school’s surveillance cameras toward the ceilings to avoid being captured on film during the incident.

While custodians will spend the weekend cleaning up the damage, Perry and other investigators will spend the weekend talking to students and present their findings to the school board and administrators Monday.

“You know how it goes that every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” said Perry. “Someone committed these actions, and now there are consequences. Unfortunately, there are about twenty seniors who are facing life-changing felony charges because they thought they were having fun for about an hour or so last night.

“Not only does it affect them, but it affects their families. They worked all this time from kindergarten to now to get to graduate, and they had the support of their families, who might not get to see their kids walk across the stage at graduation and miss out on those memories because of one night of bad decisions.”

Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.

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