Vandals Hit Wallace Smith Elementary - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Vandals Hit Wallace Smith Elementary

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By Antwan Harris
Eyewitness News Reporter

Ootlewah, TN (WRCB) -- Wallace Smith Elementary School Counselor Christie Maupen showed Eyewitness News pictures taken the day after someone wrecked havoc to the school's garden.

The school said October 24th, vandals destroyed the greenhouse, turned over tables and chairs, even damaged the supply shed.

Thursday, most things are repaired, but Maupen said she is still disappointed by what she saw.

"It was horrible to know someone could do so much damage to a special place," says Maupen.

What was most disturbing was the damage, or a Maupen put it disrespect, to the center piece of the garden, a memorial to Jessie Starnes.

The little girl died of a brain aneurysm years ago, and the morning of the 25th, students walked in to see the garden in a mess.

Many were upset, several cried.

"To came here and see it destroyed, it really hurt. We had students that didn't even know Jessie but were overwhelmed," says Maupen.

The vandals also broke into the school and tore apart a classroom.

We're told bottles of glue mixed with green food coloring were emptied all over the room.

Nothing was stolen from the building, which leads to suspicions kids are the culprits.

Now the Hamilton County Commission is offering $1,000 for any information.

"It might deter other kids knowing you can't do that and get away with it. I want kids to realize it is their school and their parents tax dollars that pay for this," says School Board Member Chester Bankston.

Most of the damage has been repaired, but the school is hesitant to replant the garden until those responsible are caught.

So far there is no suspect.

Call the Hamilton County Sheriff's office if you know anything. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 698-3333.

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