A light-hearted rivalry between neighboring high schools has taken an unfortunate turn, resulting in vandalism to both parking lots.
The first acts of vandalism took place at Narragansett High School a few weeks ago, according to Principal Daniel Warner. Spray painting, which suggested the culprits attended South Kingstown High School, was found throughout the parking lot, the driveway leading down into the school and a shed.
The vandalism that occurred at South Kingstown High School over this past the weekend was strikingly similar, and Warner suspected that this might have been some students “retaliating in kind.”
“Some of the things you saw at South Kingstown were repeats of what was done to Narragansett,” he said.
This past Saturday morning, South Kingstown High School Athletic Director Terry Lynch arrived on campus to discover that their student parking lot and an athletic shed had been defaced.
An assortment of phallic depictions in a range of sizes and numerous vulgar messages were drawn throughout the parking lot in red and white spray paint, according to the incident report made by South Kingstown Police Officer Clarke A. Reposa. The incident report makes vague reference to how this might have been “retaliation for vandalism that happened at Narragansett High School recently.”
“Based upon the content of the messages, it appeared to be a student from Narragansett High School,” Reposa wrote in the incident report. “The culprits marked an X over the ‘Rebels’ name on the shed and wrote ‘Mariners’ on top of the Rebels name.”
The “Mariners” name on the shed has since been painted over, and most of the other messages have already covered up. Some of the non-expletive messages that have yet to be painted over, however, clearly read “stay out of Gansett” and “payback.”
Though Lynch estimates the damages at roughly $1,000 between cleaning and labor costs, he told police the school does not wish to press charges at this time.
Fortunately, this isn’t something the school has to deal with on a regular basis, according to South Kingstown High School Principal Chip McGair.
“We have great kids, and I know the kids in Narragansett are great kids too,” he said. “It’s one of those things that it’s unfortunate that it happened, but thankfully it’s not commonplace.”
His comments were echoed by Warner, who’s thankful for the good, long-standing relationship between the two schools.
“I’m sure there’s a couple of goofy kids who push the envelope a little bit – on both sides,” Warner said. “This is just an anomaly.”
In order to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future, McGair said he plans to have discussions and dialogue with student leaders. He hopes they’ll be leading examples for their fellow classmates.
Since the incident, McGair said that two students have volunteered to paint a mural over the athletic shed. Though he’s not excited about why the much needed update was placed at the top of the school’s to-do list, McGair was glad to see members of the school community eager and willing to help.
“It’s just such an awesome thing, but I don’t want it to happen again,” McGair said with a lighthearted laugh. “I don’t need to wake up to that on a Saturday morning.”
“It’s not commonplace, but it’s unfortunate when it does happen,” he added.
In future discussions with students, McGair hopes students can focus their efforts on more positive things they can begin doing for their own school.