The Queen Creek Unified School District’s insurance company got a hefty bill earlier this week after vandals trashed nine school buses and used a special education bus and maintenance truck to barrel through a chain-link fence.
Nearly $40,000 worth of damage was done at Queen Creek Middle School after the early-morning vandalism spree on Monday, district officials said.
It was the third such incident in the district in just two weeks.
The football field was marked by figure eights up and down its length. Broken mirrors, first-aid kits and fire extinguishers littered the ground near a small fleet of school buses temporarily in storage at the school, said Edd Hennerley, director of district transportation.
“To see it desecrated like this . . . it’s very disappointing,” Hennerley said.
He thinks the culprits might have been students.
“Unfortunately, Queen Creek doesn’t offer much for kids to do. There are no movie theaters . . . kids are just hanging out in parks around here,” he said.
Maricopa County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said witnesses reported two males in the area at the time of the incident. An investigation is ongoing.
Tuesday marked the first home game for the middle school football team, but they had to play on the soccer field while the football field was repaired.
“Thirty minutes of fun in (the vandals’) eyes cost numerous hours” of work, said Denise Johnson, the middle school principal.
Johnson said the district likely will press charges if they find out a student caused the damage.
Superintendent James Murlless said he plans to sit down with administrators soon to discuss new security measures, including extra lighting and possibly more security cameras.
Queen Creek High School was struck by vandals twice recently. In one incident, a large chunk of sod was carved out of the school’s football field at the 50-yard line. Murlless said the incident probably didn’t involve the same vandals.
“It’s really going to be regrettable if we find out students did it,” Murlless said.