Auditorium the latest victim in school vandalism

It started in the hallways with milk spilled down the stairs before drifting to the messy bathrooms around campus. Now, in the final weeks of school, the auditorium has become another casualty in Cleveland’s dirty campus problem.

In March, disappointment rang throughout the school populous when the auditorium was found in disarray, with equipment damaged and the smell of leftover lunches heavy in the air.

“There was milk thrown on the floor and trash all around,” said Michelle Maury, music teacher and frequent user of the auditorium, with chagrin. As a result of students leaving the auditorium in such a chaotic state, she became militant about protecting it.

The damage done to the auditorium has been costly.

“I walked into the auditorium and found the curtain had been torn,” she continued, “And that there had been damage done to the piano.”                                             

That curtain in the back of the stage is called a cyclorama, and it is used to project different colors of light onto the stage. Although Maury was lucky enough to rectify damage done to the $20,000 Yamaha piano, the school has no means of replacing or fixing the cyclorama, which according to Maury, costs up to $10,000. With the curtain damaged, the stage will no longer be bathed in different colors during performances.  

“We just have to cover it up, put duct tape on it or sew it back together,” said Maury, “Those are kind of our only options.”

The incident has caused many concerns about safety and supervision.

“We’re going to make sure that there’s a walk-around and to see if doors are locked,” said security guard Rickey Davis, “With security checks in the morning, afternoon and after school, we’re trying to get on top of this to make sure it doesn’t occur again.”

There are multiple entrances to the auditorium. If even one of them is unlocked, students are able to enter the auditorium. One student was caught putting tape on the door, making it easy to open. Maury is concerned because there are things in the auditorium that could be hazardous to students. “Kids being in there alone, making bad choices, means that they could really get in trouble,” she said.

In light of the most recent incident, access to the auditorium comes with the stricter requirement of a teacher. Davis confirmed that without constant adult supervision, students are removed from the auditorium.That leaves groups like Cleveland’s breakdancing crew at a loss for what to do when they run into days without a teacher willing to stay and watch them.

“They’ve always needed a teacher in there with them,” said Steve Pratt, the breakdancing team’s advisor, “But without one they would be kicked out of the building.”

Respecting property is as important as respecting others. It’s unfair for students to find a resource destroyed.

“It’s about the stuff,” Maury expressed, “But it’s more about the people.”