2 ARRESTED FOR VANDALISM AT PEARL RIVER HIGH SCHOOL; DISTRICT VOWS TO PRESS CHARGES AGAINST ALL INVOLVED
PEARL RIVER — Two people have been arrested in connection with a vandalism incident at Pearl River High School in which walls were spray-painted and sports equipment was damaged.
Diana Musich, the school district’s director of human resources and community services, said Tuesday that Orangetown police had made two arrests in the case. She did not say for certain whether the suspects are students but said additional arrests could be made as early as today.
Musich said the district will press charges against anyone believed to have played a role in the vandalism. If the suspects are students, they will be held to the standards of the school district, regardless of whether the incident was intended as some sort of joke.
“People are asking if we think this is a senior prank,” Musich said.
If students are responsible, Musich said, “Obviously, there would be full disciplinary actions, and the district intends to press charges.”
Orangetown police would not confirm the arrests but are investigating the damage done to property Thursday night into Friday morning. Police suspect as many as a dozen students may have been involved.
“We’re investigating and bringing people in to be interviewed,” Detective Lt. James Brown said Tuesday. “I believe they have several students as possible suspects. We’re not releasing anything yet.”
Custodians at the high school found the damage Friday morning.
Three outside school walls were spray-painted with phrases, such as “No Church in the Wild,” Musich said. “No Church in the Wild” is a rap song by Jay-Z and Kanye West containing explicit references to drugs and sex.
The vandals dragged track and field equipment like hurdles across the school’s playing field to the middle of a courtyard, Musich said. Fence posts for the baseball field were broken.
The field also is used for baseball, football and soccer.
Musich estimated the damage to be about $2,500 but said that figure doesn’t include the potential higher costs of removing the spray-painted graffiti from the walls.
“The cost could go up if they can’t remove what’s there without special treatment or sand-blasting,” she said.
Schools Superintendent John Morgano issued a statement expressing the district’s angst.
“We are deeply disappointed with the actions of a group of students,” Morgano said. “Their behavior was disrespectful not only to the school, but to their peers and to a community that has been so supportive of our students as well. The district will press charges against any students involved.”