THOMSON - Thomson Elementary School can start getting back to normal, and some locals are pitching in.
After vandals did more than $10,000 damage to two pre-kindergarten classrooms at the school, parents and teachers have donated items from crayons and paper to books and monetary donations. Because of the severity of the vandalism, the two affected teachers lost several years' worth of classroom materials they had helped develop personally, including classroom decorations.
"It was depressing, and I was angry," said one of the pre-kindergarten teachers, Megan Chalker. "It was personal stuff and it affected our children, but we have been unbelievably supported by the community. We've had so many donations. Everybody's been so supportive.
"We've worked so hard to get the classrooms ready for the students and just be a comfortable environment for them to learn in."
Davis expects the classrooms to be usable again later this week.
"All of the major things have been taken care of," he said. "Some of the materials in there still need some individual cleaning."
Meanwhile, according to the Thomson Police Department, three juveniles were arrested Friday and charged with vandalizing two pre-kindergarten classrooms at Thomson Elementary early last week.
The three in custody, which include two local youths, are accused of pouring paint all over the classrooms - damaging almost every classroom material including pupils' work, textbooks, and computers - as well as letting off three fire extinguishers.
The incident occurred almost two weeks ago when the door of one of the school's mobile units, which housed the two classrooms, was forced open.
The cost of the incident will be high.
"It looks like the damages will exceed $10,000," said McDuffie County Schools Superintendent Ed Grisham. "Almost every piece of educational material was destroyed, in addition to a lot of equipment, including computers, and even carpet. Just everything in the room was messed up."
In the wake of the crime, community support for the affected teachers and students has been overwhelming.
"We've gotten a lot of moral support, as well as a lot of requests of things that could get classrooms back into shape," said Thomson Elementary Principal Donald Davis.
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