Vandals broke into the Carthage Junior High School, 714 S. Main St., damaging equipment and desks in the office and teacher workroom areas and spraying a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Carthage R-9 Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said food service workers served cereal, milk and orange juice in the gymnasium and office operations had to be moved to another room for most of the day on Wednesday while police gathered evidence to try to find out who committed the crime.
As of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Henningsen said he did not have any accounting of exactly what was damaged or the dollar value of the damage.
Henningsen said no classrooms were damaged and the school day continued unhindered around the investigators and the damage.
“We’re just now getting into some of these places where police were gathering evidence,” Henningsen said at that time. “We told the police we would cooperate fully and they had to do much of their work in the office so we haven’t been in there yet.”
Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan said fire and police officials responded to a fire alarm at 5:45 a.m. at the junior high.
Officials checked the building and believed it was secure, but between 6 and 7 a.m., school staff arriving to open for the school day found the damage.
Henningsen said the office and teachers’ lunch area were trashed with at least one computer monitor smashed along with other damage.
The vandals also smashed a television in the cafeteria and sprayed a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area.
“The kitchen staff was able to grab some cereal and milk and juice and take it to the gymnasium,” Henningsen said. “I was real proud of how (CJHS Principal) Jenny Bogle, her administrators, staff, teachers and students handled the situation. The kids were phenomenal and we fed about 90 to 100 people breakfast in the gymnasium.”
Dagnan said police investigators had collected a number of pieces of evidence at the school.
He did not reveal how the vandals got into the building, saying it would hamper the investigation.
“We’ve had school vandalism in the past, but this is the worst case in my five years in Carthage,” Dagnan said. “We will have collected a significant amount of evidence by the time we’re done.”