Vandals strike Long Beach school, teen arrested

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Crime scene tape blocked the doors that lead to the front office at Quarles Elementary School in Long Beach. After hours of waiting outside, teachers and staff were allowed to enter the building to see what vandals have done to their school.

"It's going to be awhile to get it back together," said principal Kenneth Sims, as he looked around the building.

Sims got the call around 6:00 AM Friday.

"Housekeepers opening up and noticed that some things were out of place," said Sims.  "It looks like they came in through a window through one of the boy's bathrooms."

The office area was the hardest hit. Vandals knocked over computers, overturned furniture and ransacked the teacher's workroom. In the principal's office, they smashed a monitor, destroying the surveillance system and damaged some ceiling tiles.

"I'm disappointed in whomever did this," said Sims. "I don't know for what reason they would, but it does disrupt our day and the students' day. But being angry is not going to put everything back the way it was."

The vandals also broke windows in two classrooms and yanked out the projector. Just about everything on Stacie Tripp's desk was dumped on the floor.

"I just felt bad for the kids, because we are at the end of the year, and I didn't know how much of their work was torn up," said Tripp. "They were all talking about how they were mad, and why would people do that?"

The teachers and staff didn't have much time to focus on who would do this to a school. They had to scramble to clean-up the mess, so the children could go back to class.

"It's unfortunate.  It's disappointing, but hopefully, Long Beach Police will find out who did this," said Sims.

During the investigation and clean-up, the Kindergartners through third graders at Quarles were moved to trailers at Harper McCaughan Elementary School next door. Fortunately, the fourth and fifth graders had field day, so their schedule was not disrupted.

The school will do an inventory to determine what's missing and the extent of damage.

17-year-old Dillan Thomas Fayette of Pass Christian was arrested Friday and faces a commercial burglary charge.

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