LocationAlhambra , CA United States
San Gabriel High School teachers demanded answers over a vandalism incident that occurred six months ago, claiming that the school district had kept them in the dark over how the students involved were punished.
One teacher targeted by the vandalism, David Whitman, said that the school district should not have handled the incident as a prank, but as a crime that singled out specific teachers and caused a large amount of monetary damage.
“Being targeted like this, I expected some action from the district and from San Gabriel High School,” Whitman said, addressing the Alhambra Unified School District board of education. “There was a void of information.”
Superintendent Denise Jaramillo said that the incident happened before she started this job, so she was catching up on what happened with the investigation. She pledged to follow up with the teachers who spoke out about this.
“I will say that there was no attempt to cover anything up,” she said.
The San Gabriel High School principal did not respond to a request for comment.
The vandalism occurred back in May, on the last day of school. According to the Matador, San Gabriel High School’s newspaper, Students and teachers discovered buildings covered in graffiti, eggs and toilet paper thrown around, the destruction of the school’s teaching garden and other damage.
Much of the graffiti targeted specific teachers with lewd comments. Whitman said at the board meeting that someone had spray painted an image of a penis on his classroom door, and that the administration had been slow in properly repainting it.
Back in May, the Matador quoted Principal Debbie Stone as saying that the school along with the Alhambra Police Department were investigating. An Alhambra Police Department spokesperson said that the district ultimately opted to handle the incident as a prank and not involve the police.
Another teacher, Robert Johnson, said that he was surprised to find the first indication of how the investigation had turned out in a Matador article from September. After the school administration and the district refused to respond to his inquiries, he decided to go to the school board.
Johnson was not singled out in the graffiti, but said the lack of response from the school administration and the district left many teachers feeling unsupported and demoralized. “It’s not just a prank,” he said. “It falls into sexual harassment for me.”