Problem Solver: Bozeman School recovers from severe vandalism

Getting ready for school

By Jerry Brown | jbrown@wmbb.com

Published 07/21 2016 10:31PM

Updated 07/22 2016 03:58PM

A little more than a week ago, three teenaged vandals hit a Bay District school.  It was well beyond spray paint graffiti.  It was significant damage. Since then, a major cleanup has been underway. This week in Problem Solver, a visit to Bozeman School and how you can be part of its recovery.
 
Tuesday morning, July 12, a shock no principal wants to see at their school. Bozeman Principal Josh Balkom says, "I honestly could not believe something like this happened at our school."
 
Principal Balkom says eleven elementary classrooms were severely damaged, there was widespread paint on the carpet, splattered and sprayed on the walls, computer screens broken.  There was also damage in the gym and cafeteria.  The three teens were arrested and admitted to taking part in the crime. Balkom says, "we have exhausted every possible resource from from within our school and outside to assure that we have a safe campus.  It is alarming that someone would want to attempt to destroy that."
 
It is a tough sight for school teachers, students and staff. Damage is estimated on the high end near $100,000.00. The tremendous job of cleanup and recovery was quickly organized and continues daily. Principal Balkom tells News 13, "Its amazing how much progress has been made."  
 
Mr. Balkom talked about one particular classroom and said, "this classroom we are standing in now was one of the most severe. It was pretty much destroyed. So appreciative of the efforts of the cleaning crew they have done a great job to get us to this point but we still have a way to go. We are in a position to be ready for the first day of school. We still have some work to do but, we will get there."
 
Community response from Bay County has been encouraging. Balkom says, "You know, I have said this many times, but if anything positive can come out of this, it served as a reminder how blessed we are to live in this community. The people have been amazing...hundreds of calls and emails.  I am struggling to keep up with them which is a good problem to have. I am very, very appreciative."
 
Dealing with the vandalism means other cleanup tasks at Bozeman have been delayed. Principal Balkom says volunteers are welcome to take part in the Bozeman campus beautification day.  It will be Saturday, July 30th beginning at 7:00 a.m.  For more information, call 767-1300.  You can also donate to the Go Fund Me page. Find it on mypanhandle.com in the 'Don't Miss' section in the middle of the home page.
 

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