MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - While the hunt is on for three people seen inside Moss Point High School shortly before it firefighters were called to extinguish a blaze, Tuesday classes have been canceled for the high school.
Fire broke out at the Moss Point High School around midnight on Monday. Police Chief Art McClung told WLOX news that the school's surveillance video showed three people in the building right before the fire started.
Students and staff members say they were shocked and saddened to see their school roped off as a crime scene. Students say that instead of usual morning alarms, they were woken up by the sound of text messages, news and social media alerts about a suspicious fire at their school.
"It kind of made me mad because I kind of like school. I really wanted to go and that fact that someone would burn it down is kind of not cool," said TyAnna Randle.
Moss Point Schools Superintendent Dr. Shannon Vincent says more than 600 high school students had to stay home because of the blaze. Dr. Vincent spent the morning watching firefighters get the smoke out of the school and waiting as crime scene investigators sift through debris and examine reportedly graffiti found inside the building.
"Overwhelmed, exhausted and sadden that young people would break into the school and vandalize it," said the superintendent.
Moss Point Police Chief Art McClung agreed, noting that school should be a safe place to learn.
"It is important they be in school and they're missing a day of school for foolishness," said McClung.
The Jackson County NAACP chapter is now offering a $500 reward to anyone who can provide details regarding the incident.
"It is time to take a stand. We need to get involved and our police department received the type assistance needed," said Jackson County NAACP President Curley Clark.
In addition to the vandalism inside the school, the police chief says the concession stand near the football field and some buildings around the school were also vandalized.
Students just hope they can return to learning reading, writing and arithmetic in their classrooms soon.
"I am entirely disappointed because that is our education you are messing with," said Destinee Beard.
Engineers and building inspectors are currently assessing the damage to determine how long high school students will be out of class. K-8 classes will be in session on Tuesday. Parents can visit the school's website or the school's messenger for additional updates.