Guam -The Guam Fire Department is investigating a blaze at George Washington High School early Tuesday morning. While the Fire Department would not speculate on the cause of the fire, school officials say there was evidence of vandalism in other parts of the facility. GW wasn’t the only school vandalized overnight, Jose Rios Middle School dismissed students early Tuesday because of damage from a break-in at the school.
It was almost a normal day for students at George Washington High School. Class continued as usual even though some classrooms couldn’t be utilized. A fire at the school last night made five classrooms unusable today due to smoke damage.
“We canvassed the entire campus to make sure there were no other rooms effected,” Assistant Principal Darlene Roberto said. “It was just contained to this one area so we were able to move around students and teachers and so we decided to hold class.”
Roberto says someone from the community called the fire department to report the blaze early this morning and the administration was called in examine the damage at 5:30am. While the Guam Fire Department and Guam Police Department continue to investigate the blaze, Roberto believes it was set intentionally because there were signs of vandalism throughout the facility.
“It appeared that the vandals went around the campus tearing downs posters, displays,” Roberto said. “They were all ripped off the walls.”
Students at Jose Rios Middle School were dismissed at 12pm today because their school was broken into last night. Principal Erika Cruz says the break-in wasn’t discovered until 7am this morning, so their wasn’t enough time to call off school in the morning. Cruz did not know what the vandals took off with, other than a TV from Classroom #20, because the GPD Crime Lab was still sweeping the classrooms for evidence when PNC spoke with her this morning.
“We do have broken windows, some broken doors, desks have been broken into,” Cruz said this morning explaining that all 10 of the Eighth Grade classrooms were broken into as well as five Seventh Grade classrooms, the Computer Lab, the Nurses’ office and her office.
“It’s difficult to move 16 teachers around so what we’re doing is utilizing classrooms where teachers have preparation time,” Cruz said explaining why students were dismissed at noon.
This was the first time Jose Rios Middle School was broken into in the last three years but with so much vandalism occurring at other schools Cruz said she knew it was just a matter of time before her school was targeted.
GW Assistant Principal Roberto told PNC that her school was also broken into in October, November and December. She added that someone set fire to the Counseling Office in 2008 but she says this is the first time fire has been involved since then.
Today’s vandalism incidents follow a break-in at Benavente Middle School over the weekend.