School canceled at New Bedford High School after extensive vanda - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

School canceled at New Bedford High School after extensive vandalism

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By: Melissa Randall
mrandall@abc6.com 

When school officials arrived at New Bedford High Friday morning they discovered a huge mess. Overnight someone had intentionally set off the fire extinguishers and thrown flour and food throughout a large portion of the building. The incident is believed to part of a senior prank.

“That's being childish and stupid,” said parent Robert Hobson who’s daughter is a senior.

Police say there were no signs of forced entry, and are looking into whether the culprit hid out after the yearbook signing event held at the school Thursday evening. They say it doesn't appear the vandal(s) was/were trying to destroy anything. Instead investigators believe they just wanted to create a mess.

The school decided to err on the side of caution and cancel classes because the air quality was compromised when the extinguishers were used. It will also give crews time to scrub everything down.

“It's frustrating because again these kids can't go to school and it's a safety issue so it makes me nervous,” said Kim Gadapee who’s son attends the high school.

Senior CaityCaitlynen, 19, says there were only a few days of school left. She can't understand why anyone would think the destruction is funny.

“They shouldn't have done that in the first place/ they're acting like 5 year olds when they are seniors,” she said.

Police are now combing through the surveillance footage. The person(s) responsible could face charges ranging from trespassing to malicious destruction of property.

The Superintendent released a statement saying:

“These were foolish and thoughtless actions that needlessly interrupted the great teaching and learning that goes on every day at our high school,” said Dr. Pia Durkin. “I am extremely grateful to the staff, parents, and students for their swift and thorough response to this incident, and to the New Bedford Police and Fire Departments for their immediate cooperation and professionalism.”

An air quality test is being conducted to ensure the building is safe for students to return Monday.

Durkin has contacted the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education to find out whether this missed day will have to be made up.

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