It may seem minor alongside the at San Leandro High, but a massive graffiti attack on Garfield Elementary School last week vexed parents who gathered at a homecoming event Thursday night.
"We don't deserve this," said San Leandro native Lisa Granada who, along with her husband, Robert, was helping set up for the annual event.
School district cleanup crews had painted over or power washed almost all of the graffiti by the homecoming event, but the attack was so extensive that new Garfield Prinicipal Lynda Hornada contacted parents though an e-mail and automated telephone message to explain the incident.
"An event like this is unsettling to our entire community," said Hornada, who recently came to Garfield from the Albany School District, replacing Jan Nuno, who retired after a long and successful stint as principal.
Hornada said vandals apparently came onto school grounds last Friday night about 11:00 p.m. and spraypainted the walls and walkways on much of the inside perimeter of the school.
"It was the most graffiti I have ever seen in one place," said Hornada, who taught public school in New York City before coming the Bay Area.
The damage was discovered Monday morning by a custodian and school officials quickly painted and cleaned the damaged areas.
Hornada said one suspect had been taken into custody and questioned.
"We have no reason to suspect gang activity," she said.
As parent volunteers prepared for the homecoming, they said the recent attack was more extensive than other incidents but that acts of vandalism were unfortuately not rare.
"They've spraypainted the playground, left empty bottles, dirty diapers, condoms, you name it," said Tracy Watson, mother of three children at the school.
Aside from such regrettable incidents, parents said they loved the small school which has about 395 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
"This is a great little community," said Granada, who has one child at Garfield.
Her roots in the school run deep. Her mother, Xochitl Glass, was a member of Garfield's first graduating class.
"That's how far back we go," said Granada, who attended other San Leandro schools herself.