HOWARD CITY, Mich. – MacNaughton Elementary School in Tri County Area School District was closed Tuesday after the school was vandalized overnight. Police are still looking for whoever is responsible.
“We’re trying to finish up a school year be positive with the kids and its tough for them to end the school year on this note” said Superintendent Allen Cumings.
There were 17 windows smashed, which will cost around $800 each to repair. The total cost of the damage is still unknown.
Crews got to work right away cleaning up the mess, one classroom at a time. While administrators worked to assess the damage, kids who had been already dropped off for the day waited in the gym until they could be picked up.
“Initially it was, ‘Hey we have some windows broken,’ said Cumings. “We didn’t know the extent of damage. The principal got up here and reported this is pretty severe, throughout the building.”
“They didn’t deserve this, and I’m just glad they didn’t let the kids in to see it,” said Heather Meeuwes, who has a granddaughter in kindergarten. “Otherwise, that`s pretty traumatic. That`s kind of like their second home.”
“I think it’s a disappointment that somebody would come into an elementary school,” said Cumings. “This is a K-2 building; these are elementary students”
“Financially, everybody knows schools are strapped right now, and so its just disappointing to come into a place where were trying to help kids learn. We’re trying to provide the best education we can on limited resources.”
Police believe the suspect or suspects got in through a skylight in the main office, then made their way through school, turning over computers. More than 20 had broken screens.
Some classrooms were ransacked. Desks and chairs and lights were ripped out of ceilings. Surprisingly though, not much was stolen, only some petty cash from a few classrooms.
“The extent of this damage is going to take a while to repair,” said Cumings. “The insurance company will work with us, but it just takes us a step backwards.”
The school will be back open on Wednesday.
If you have any information you can call the Howard City Police Department at 231-937-4311 or the Michigan State Police Lakeview post 989-352-8444.