By Claire Kitzmiller
This November, students in the Downs House were rushed out of the school because smoke billowed out of the second floor girls’ bathroom. Vandalism has always been an issue at Arlington High School but in the past few months, it has reached a peak. Teachers’ cars have been targeted and keyed, car windows have been smashed, classrooms have been vandalized, and a bathroom has been set on fire.
A faculty member has had her car repeatedly vandalized on school grounds. Officer Porciello, the school safety officer, has reason to believe a student is causing the damage because everyday, the teacher parks her car in a new location, and still it is vandalized.
Two faculty members have even had their rear windshield windows smashed. Porciello is cautious before saying the smashing is caused by a student, because the windows were smashed on Mass Ave. He thinks it could be anyone.
When talking about the ongoing investigation of the vandalism, Porciello said, “The biggest asset is the student body, because there’s definitely more than one person who knows who’s doing it. People talk about stuff.”
Porciello says there are two ways to catch whoever is vandalizing the cars. Someone reports it to him, or someone is caught in the act. There is an ongoing investigation into the vandalism of faculty members cars, but no one has been caught yet.
When someone is caught, he/she will be charged for the penalty which is “malicious destruction of a vehicle”. The severity of the punishment is based on the cost of the damage.
The fire in the girls’ bathroom is also an ongoing investigation. The evidence shows that the fire was set on purpose. It is being considered arson, a serious offense.
When students smoke in the bathroom, they often smoke close to the stall, so they can quickly throw their cigarettes in the toilet. The fire in the bathroom originated on a piece of furniture, relatively far away from the stalls. This causes investigators to believe that the fire was started intentionally.
When asked about the investigation, Porciello said, “I’d like to ultimately catch the person/people who are responsible for doing this destruction, but at the end of the day, the number one concern is to make sure that whoever is doing it, stops doing it.”