News 12 First at Five / Thursday, April 26, 2012
THOMSON, Ga. -- Over the weekend, vandals broke into J.A. Maxwell Elementary in Thomson and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Donna Bennett, principal of Maxwell Elementary says, "Monday morning I received a phone call at home and just threw on some sweatpants and came in to see exactly what had happened."
But nothing could prepare her for what she saw.
"Pure chaos. Rooms that had been destroyed, and just devastation," she said.
Sgt. Marquis Murray with the Thomson Police Department investigated the case.
"This is probably some of the worst damage I've ever seen," he said.
Bennett said major cleanup crews had to come in for two days to fix the mess.
Four 12 and 13-year-olds have been arrested for the crime, and they're facing some stiff punishment.
"Maximum of probably about five to six burglary charges because it was four buildings at one school," Sgt. Murray told News 12's Laura Warren.
And you can add criminal damage to property and interference with government property to the list of charges.
"Most of the damage we have cleaned up as much as we can, you still see little remnants of it, but that will be replaced this summer," Bennett said.
Investigators have also linked the middle schoolers to vandalizing the old Norris Elementary School back in March.
Boards on the windows of the school cover the broken glass from the incident, and damage inside the building was similar to that done to Maxwell Elementary.
"I think it was just something they were just doing at the time because they never actually gave a reason," Murray said.
And as for the kids at J.A. Maxwell Elementary, school continues.
"At this point, we have just made the rooms where we can function in them. Our classes can continue. And then this summer we have plans to go in and redo the flooring and paint, things that would have taken time and time away from our kids in the classroom," Bennett said.
Renovations that will carry a heavy price tag.
"It's well in the thousands of dollars," Bennett said.
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