SANTA MONICA—Both the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) located on 2525 Fifth Street and John Muir Elementary School located on 2526 Sixth Street were vandalized on Saturday, June 8.
Five juveniles between the ages of 11 and 13 admitted to the crime on Monday, June 10. The juveniles posted a video of the rampage at John Muir Elementary School that transpired Saturday night. Community input helped to identify the individuals involved in the crime.
According to officials, three of the juveniles damaged Will Rogers Learning Community located on Sunset Park, and Roosevelt Elementary School located on Montana Avenue that same evening.
Four of the juveniles were issued citations for vandalism by the Santa Monica Police Department. The fifth juvenile was not from the Santa Monica region and was not issued a citation by authorities. The cases will be handled by the School Resource Division of the SMPD in collaboration with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.
Video originally posted on Instagram revealed that the 11 and 13-year-olds were setting off fire extinguishers and kicking furniture and books at Muir Elementary.
SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati sent out a letter Sunday, June 9 to parents and staff. The letter reads that “Heavy damage was done by expelling numerous fire extinguishers indoors on books, walls, flooring in classrooms and the library, breaking windows, destroying furniture, technology and materials, dumping cans of paint on exteriors, and flooding rooms by turning on the sinks.” It did not appear that anything was stolen from any of the elementary schools.
Drati said in a letter that the school district plans on upgrading the school systems intrusion alarms, cameras around campus perimeters and electronic locks as a part of SMS which was passed last November.
According to the California Welfare and Institutions code, the parent or guardian may be liable for the payment of restitution, fines or penalty assessments to the victim, in this case the school district. The Malibu-Santa Monica School District says that the damage could be up to $100,000.
The damage did not interfere with the school’s planned fifth-grade graduation ceremony. Drati wrote in his letter that, “The operations team is onsite and working to restore as much as can be for our important ceremony and celebration.” The fifth-grade graduation was held at Muir Elementary Monday morning as scheduled.
Community & Public Relations Officer, Gail Pinsker informed Canyon News that the elementary schools do not have guards during school days or the weekend, but Santa Monica and Malibu’s middle and high schools do have campus security. During school, the sites are closed with an access system for visitors.
Pinsker indicated that the measure will offer the inclusion of perimeter cameras on school grounds and intrusion alarms, so that harsh vandalism events like this can be prevented in the future.
Written By Christianne McCormick and Olivia Gonzalez-Britt