Destructive Acts Prompt Investigation
February 27, 2017
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Police are currently investigating various incidents of vandalism that have been reported over the past month at CHS and Walter Johnson High Schools.
The initial vandalism incident at CHS was reported on Friday, January 27th when school employees arrived that morning to see profanity spray painted across the stadium, concession area and the sports field dugouts. A large amount of the graffiti contained anti-CHS and pro-WJ rhetoric, depictions of male genitalia, and other profane statements.
“A prank is one thing,” Principal Joan Benz said. “This was no prank. This was criminal behavior.”
According to a Feb. 7 Montgomery County Police Department press release, another incident was reported on WJ property, Monday, Jan. 30, followed by yet another incident on the CHS campus on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
According to Benz, both schools’ administrations are actively investigating the vandalism, and if they find the student responsible then “there will be a police arrest and both principals will recommend expulsion.”
The Montgomery County Police Department is offering a tremendous reward of $10,000 to anyone who brings forth credible information. Whoever committed the vandalism will potentially face criminal charges for the damage done. They will also be held responsible for the cost of graffiti removal and a new scoreboard for CHS.
According to a Jan. 31 NBC Washington article, the graffiti resulted in almost 100,000 dollars worth of total damages at both schools.
So far, officials have been unsuccessful in finding those at fault, as neither school has security cameras outside or near the targeted areas.
According to Benz, the culprits did not park their vehicles near CHS so the security cameras on Gainsborough Road were unable to identify any license plate numbers.
Although no evidence has been brought forward, CHS and WJ are continuously working to uncover more.
“[Principal] Baker was extremely angry. It’s super embarrassing for her, as the students of WJ represent everything in the school, including administration,” WJ senior Bella Vasconcelos said. “She [made] an announcement at dismissal letting the students know that WJ and CHS are working hard to find out who did it and that they will eventually find out who was involved.”
The CHS athletic department and sports teams worked with administration after the incident to enforce a zero tolerance policy—meaning that neither school will condone any inappropriate behavior regarding school spirit such as violent chants or gestures. Leading up to the varsity home basketball games against WJ, multiple announcements were made outlining acceptable ways to express school spirit and warning that there would be consequences if these were not followed.
“At the basketball game against WJ, administration brought in extra security,” junior Sofia Camp said. She added that the crowd was kept calm by the extra adults in attendance.
According the MCPD press release, “Detectives believe that the vandalism are related to a sports rivalry between a group of students from both schools.”
Nonetheless, there is no definitive evidence that the crimes were committed as the result of a rivalry between either teams or individual athletes from the schools. Officials are exploring all possibilities.
“I do not believe that this was an athlete versus athlete incident,” Benz said.
MCPD investigators are still seeking information and ask that anyone who has information contact the 1st District Investigative Section or report anonymously by calling Crime Solvers of Montgomery County.