Late teacher’s memorial vandalized in North Attleboro

By News Staff

Reporting by Kainani Stevens

A memorial garden for a beloved North Attleboro teacher is vandalized not once, but twice in one week.

Laurie Gelati-Armell was a teacher at the Allen Avenue Elementary School for over 17 years before she lost her battle with cancer in 2011. The school dedicated a garden in her memory.

What was once a colorful, happy place for Laurie’s loved ones to visit is now barren. Some time last week vandals stole benches, decorative stepping stones, and a sign bearing Laurie’s name.

When family members returned this weekend to clean up, they realized even more items had been taken.

"Between Friday and Saturday more things were taken; birdfeeders, planters, stepping stones that children had made from the school. It’s really hard to understand why anyone would even need those things," said Shea Gelati-Armell, Laurie’s daughter.

The Allen Avenue school closed in June but the garden still receives visitors often, including Laurie’s children. Shea says she’s still at a loss for words as to why someone would do something like this.

"This granite bench is the last remaining part of Laurie’s memorial. It’s inscribed with a quote that her children take solace in," she said.

The quote read, "A teacher affects eternity, she can never tell where her influence stops."

Shea continued, "My mother loved to teach. She was always looking for ways to further her education. I feel like she was someone in the community that people looked to… looked up to. I did myself, of course. She’s my mother. I loved her so dearly. She touched so many people and we will never know how far that goes."

Shea and her family are hopeful that whomever took the sign will return is, no questions asked.

© WLNE-TV 2015