News 12 First at Five, January 3, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Students throughout Richmond County returned to school today. But there were empty classrooms at Dorothy Hains Elementary school after vandals broke in -- breaking windows, setting walls on fire and stealing electronics.
"I was disgusted yet again...because it had just recently happened," said Principal Sophia Cogle.
It's the second time this has happened since November. This time, teachers desks were ransacked, bulletin boards destroyed, papers--and even an America flag--burned.
Principal Cogle says it's affecting everyone.
"I have a new teacher. This is her second month and her second break-in and i'm sure she's discouraged at this point," she says with concern, "I'm very scared. It sems to be an every other month thing here recently."
Most of the damage happened in the outside portable classrooms destroying things that teachers spend their personal money on.
"Many of them have come out of pocket to decorate and to make the classroom as conducive as possible for learning," says Cogle.
Teachers say they have no clue who could be behind these crimes, but they think the portable classrooms are being targeted because there's not enough lighting in that area of the school yard.
But, there's also damage inside the main building. The library door was kicked in and the circulation computer was stolen--something the principal desperately wants back because it has the social security numbers of students and teachers on it.
"We just don't know if it will happen again. What will they do next time? I'm hoping that someone in the neighborhood is able to see them and hopefully they'll report them to the sheriff's office."
School Administrators say they may be exploring new techniques for storing students and teachers personal information.
If you have any information, contact the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.