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5 Vernon and area schools vandalized overnight

Negative graffiti spray-painted on Lumby elementary and Vernon schools
Vandals spray painted anti-mask messages on Lumby’s J.W. Inglis Elementary school, as pictured Monday, Oct. 25. (Shandel Dyck photo)

Spray-painted anti-mask messaging was found on five schools Sunday evening. But whoever did it was also caught on camera.

”Our district surveillance equipment captured excellent photos of the man in action and that evidence has been turned over to RCMP,” Vernon School District superintendent Christine Perkins said. “The incident has also been reported to SaferSchools.”

“Negative graffiti, like last night on our school properties, is vandalism.”

The cleanup is estimated to cost $4,000, which Perkins said means less money is available for other valuable district initiatives.

But that’s not the only consequence of the messages left for students Monday morning.

“There are multiple consequences of negative graffiti. The social consequences involve our students arriving at one of their safe places — their school — and seeing that someone has disrespected it hurts all of us.”

RCMP are investigating the incidents, which included Lumby’s J.W. Inglis Elementary, where someone wrote: “Masking kids is child abuse,” and, “Rise up.”

READ MORE: Anti-mask graffiti spray painted at Lumby school

The statement sparked debate among community members after Shandel Dyck posted a photo of the vandalism on social media.

“Someone clearly did this to make a statement, and that statement is… ‘I’m an idiot,’” Matthew Bunnett said.

Sharon Walberg worked at the school for 10 years and is disheartened by the act.

“If this is adults they should know that the kids would be confused by this and asking a lot of questions, this is sad really,” Walberg said. “Some kids would be scared by this. Good way to scare the kids and take away from their learning while they ask teachers questions all day and wonder why someone did this. Poor teachers who have to explain others stupidity. People need to understand that this is not in children’s best interests to interfere with their education and feelings of safety. So many teachers now have to explain child abuse today what a great use of their time and what a crappy topic to discuss.”

Deirdra Leanne agreed: “An adults attitude towards these things is everything for a child. My heart goes out to the teachers who have been working through unprecedented times and events. To be handed another handful of stress this Monday morning. Now our little town has to have this fixed, the obligations fall down the line…Someone has to paint over this…Care for confused kiddos, and for what? Have pride in our home, regardless of your stance on masks out school and our teachers didn’t put it in place.”

Meanwhile, others don’t disagree with the message.

“They’re not wrong,” Jon Urmetzer said.

Roxsyna Salvas said there’s an easy solution, home school.

Laura Watson doesn’t condone the crime, but she does share the belief.

“I agree with the message. Just not the vandalism.”

Others are fed up with it all.

“So sad that it has come to this,” Liselle Parenteau said. “Children are as sick of this as us adults are.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 exposures at three Vernon elementary schools


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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