Grinches ruin Christmas for Dededo school - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Grinches ruin Christmas for Dededo school

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - For the second time in a week vandals have struck at Astumbo Middle School, this time forcing the school to cancel classes and putting a damper on holiday cheer.  Authorities are now looking to identify the grinches who stole Christmas for students and staff at the Dededo campus.

Local vandals set the bar especially low last night, vandalizing more than 15 classrooms and doing their best to ruin Christmas for the faculty, staff and students at Astumbo Middle. 

Principal Robert Martinez says he was still at home shortly after 7am when early staff called to notify him of the break-in.  He has experience with this as just this Monday five classrooms were broken into, and he immediately alerted the police. "Because that many classrooms were broken into we could not have classes today also based on the recommendation on the officers that were here this morning, are here still, because of shattered glass all over the school will inhibit the safety of the students and inhibit the crime scene itself," he said.

Today was supposed to be the last day of school before the Christmas break.  A special program had even been planned for the whole school to celebrate. But all that had to be put off because classrooms, like this one belonging to language arts teacher Mary Taitano, had been maliciously vandalized.  She said, "When the students came in this morning they were all excited about the activities and everything and they were sent home early. So it's a disappointment that this should happen to our school."

To make up the lost day, students will have to come in on Monday. It makes for just another added inconvenience for parents like Hertha Van Beurden, who had to reschedule her morning to pick up son Mahyao. "It is the last day for the kids before they go on their Christmas break. Now they have to come in on Monday and that pretty much is going to inconvenience a lot of parents not just me because we have to get off work to come get our kids," she said, visibly frustrated. "And all, it's just a dumb thing for someone to do. It's a school. Come on guys, get real."

The authorities are still working to determine just how much has been stolen and what the cost of damages is, for a department that is already strapped for cash. If you have any information about the grinches who have stolen Christmas for the parents, teachers and students, you are urged to contact Guam Crimestoppers at 477-HELP (4357).

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