HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Could a school rivalry be what's causing the Harrison County School District to spend thousands of dollars repairing damage? Some time in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, school officials said vandals went onto the campus of Harrison Central High School. Superintendent Henry Arledge told WLOX he believes what happened could be connected to vandalism that happened at West Harrison High last year.
Back in September of 2013, four Harrison Central students were arrested for spray painting graffiti on the West Harrison football field and causing other damage. Fixing the damage cost the Harrison County School District about $2,000. Officials estimate what happened Tuesday night at Harrison Central will be about $10,000.
From the football field to the administration office, most of Harrison Central High School was tagged with obscenities spelled out in green and orange spray paint.
"Just the field alone we're estimating several thousand dollars worth of damage," said Athletic Director Bobby Trosclair. "The first step in it is trying to remove the paint. At this point what we're trying to do is remove the paint from the turf in hopes that we do not have to replace. If we can remove it manually, then we won't have to do the replacement. It will just be a man power and materials cost, but if you have to get into replacing it, your dollar amount goes up significantly."
School officials said they are especially upset about the damage that was done to the greenhouse. It is where special needs students are taught gardening and landscaping skills that will hopefully one day help them be able to get jobs. Vandals slashed holes in the greenhouse, then went inside and ransacked it.
"What hurts is this is money that could be spent elsewhere to do improvements, better their education," said Trosclair.
Of all the damage that was done, Harrison County students say this was like a dagger to the heart. Vandals defaced a memorial to Mason Turner, a Harrison Central student who died in a boating accident last year.
"If he was still in school, he would be a junior this year with all of us. To me, this is flat out going in all our faces and saying he was nothing when he was really special to us," said Harrison Central student Krystal Breland.
"They shouldn't have gone that far. That's way too far," said Christy Chadwick.
"That's hurtful and spiteful and degrading and downright not right at all," said Breland.
Harrison Central school officials said they have some surveillance video they will be reviewing. They are also asking anyone with information to contact the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.