With just a few days left in the school year, the John Muir / SMASH school campus was vandalized Saturday night with “significant” damage that will take several days to repair.
According to the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, the damage occurred in classrooms, the library, cafetorium, stage, teacher’s lounge, bookroom and exterior areas.
“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,” said a letter sent to parents by Superintendent Ben Drati.
Drati said the school had already been staged for Monday’s 5th grade graduation and the vandalism damaged some of the graduation preparations.
He said students might be relocated to other rooms during the final week of school as it will take several days to fully restore the facility.
District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said the district’s facilities crews, the principal and staff worked hard to restore the graduation decorations to provide a positive and memorable experience for students.
Initial damage estimates range from the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Officials are still conducting an inventory of the damage and determining what will need to be replaced and what can be cleaned.
“Unfortunately, the Muir / SMASH site has been vandalized two other times since February, however, this is the worst incident,” he said.
Five juveniles ages 11 – 13 were identified and admitted to the vandalism.
“Three of them also caused some damage at Will Rogers Learning Community and Roosevelt Elementary School on the same evening. Four of the students are current students in Santa Monica-Malibu USD schools. One is not from the area,” said Drati in a follow-up letter. “Violations of Education Code and Penal Code are under review and students will receive discipline and consequences as appropriate for these crimes.”
He said the school sites were safe for students to enjoy the last two days of the school year.
According to Lieutenant Candice Cobarrubias with the Santa Monica Police Department, an unrelated student posted video of the vandalism on Instagram and officials were able to identify the suspects from that video.
The cases will be handled by the School Resource Division of the Santa Monica Police Department in collaboration with the School District.”