'Horrible case of vandalism': Someone trashed Oakland elementary school over spring break

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Teachers and students on Tuesday were greeted at Manzanita Community School in Oakland with a disturbing disarray of paint-smeared walls, strewn books and broken computers --  the day after a more-than weeklong spring break.

Crews spent the morning sweeping up glass shards, picking up papers and trying to clean off the still-wet red and brown paint from walls and doors. 

“This is a pretty horrible case of vandalism,” Oakland Unified School District spokesman. “Over the past couple of days came in and pulled things off of shelves, threw things on the floor and broke a lot of things.” The vandal or vandals also pulled computers out of a locked storage cabinet, Sasaki said, and broke three of the machines.

“Some spent a lot of time doing this,” Sasaki said. “There seemed to be no reason at all other than to mess things up. This is just pointless.”

He noted the district has such “limited resources” and now will have to spend money to clean up the mess. The district’s police department has taken pictures and is investigating. There were no broken windows and no evidence of a forced entry, Sasaki said. He wasn’t immediately sure if there was surveillance video of the vandalism. 

Manzanita is a K-5 elementary school located on E. 27th Street. A total of 91 percent of its children are on the free and reduced-price meal program. 

Sasaki said no one knows exactly when the vandalism occurred. There was an alarm that went off on Saturday, but he didn’t think that was necessarily related. Yet some of the paint was still wet on Tuesday, meaning that at least some of the havoc was wreaked pretty recently.

The vandalism was mostly contained to the common areas of the school such as the outdoor cafeteria and the hallways. The classrooms were largely left untouched and students resumed their studies after their spring break last week as well as Cesar Chavez Day, which the district celebrated on Monday. 

One teacher said she didn’t even tell her younger students about the vandalism, and implored the older students never to take out their bad feelings on a school.  Sasaki said  those parents and children who did see the vandalism asked themselves, “Why would someone do this to my school?”
He implored the perpetrators to come forward and asked the community’s help in finding out whoever brazenly tore apart the school.

“This is just ruining the home away from home for our kids,” Sasaki said. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to replenish some of the items at school.