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Schools offer reward for info about vandals

Gainesville, North Hall High rivalry sparks spray-painting war

POSTED: September 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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Like two sides taking turns in a football game, vandals are striking back and forth at rival schools Gainesville High and North Hall, with the last acts taking place Sunday morning at GHS.

And Hall County and Gainesville school officials, frustrated by the chain of events, have offered a $1,500 reward "for any information leading to the identification of the individuals," said Merrianne Dyer, interim superintendent for the Gainesville school system, on Sunday.

In the latest incident, vandals spray-painted obscenities on several areas of Gainesville High between midnight and 5 a.m. Sunday, said Gainesville police Lt. Gary Entrekin.

"The front windows and entrance doors and facade were spray-painted in green with profanities and ‘Go Trojans,’" Dyer said.

North Hall’s colors are green and white and its mascot is the Trojan.

The discovery follows one on Friday morning in which spray-painted graffiti was found at Mount Vernon Elementary School near North Hall High.

And on Wednesday, vandals struck the practice field area at Gainesville High, tearing down poster board signs and spray-painting the nearby Gainesville High spirit rock with profanities and references to North Hall.

Gainesville and North Hall are football rivals. The two faced off Friday night at North Hall. Gainesville High won that contest 27-0.

Also on Sunday, police discovered that picnic tables and a drink vending machine had been turned over in the school’s courtyard area near the cafeteria, Entrekin said.

The driver’s education car also was spray-painted, and a school sign outside the vocational building was turned over, Dyer said.

Entrekin said police officers plan to check with school officials to see what, if anything, was caught on the school’s video surveillance system.

Dyer said, "We have pulled the video surveillance cameras to study (what may have occurred).

"The graffiti was removed by (school system) maintenance workers (Sunday) morning. Hall County schools assisted by sending a pressure washer with special graffiti removal solutions to us."

Will Schofield, superintendent of the Hall County school system, spent some time at Gainesville High on Sunday morning at the scene of the vandalism.

He lamented that a few people with spray-paint cans have tried to put a damper on a healthy rivalry between competitive schools.

"But it’s up to us as the grown folks to keep focusing on the good things and deal with this other stuff on the side and keep marching forward," Schofield said. "So, that’s what we’ll do."



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