Disrespect For Schools Manifested In Graffiti Attack On Garfield Elementary

Vandalism done last Friday now cleaned up, but parents say such incidents occur sporadically at this tiny campus in the Marina District

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.



Barry Kane September 17, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Its a broad decline of quality of life in San Leandro. We are becoming an urban nightmare of grafitti, litter and less than civil behavior in our city.
Rob Rich September 17, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Thanks to district facilities staff for promptly cleaning it up.
Thomas Clarke September 17, 2011 at 11:35 PM
One more example of thinking that cleaning up will stop the vandalism. There is somenthing very wrong here and it is clear that the school and trustees as well as key families do not have a clue. I do not know either, but this would not happen if things were right. They are not obviously. Perhaps more telling is that the guns far outshadown the even more important indicent at Garfield. Notice that President Morgan Mack-Rose, Mike Katz, Sandra Spagnoli and the Mayor have not thought that this was too important. Cleaning it up is not the only solution. Too bad that no other work is being investigated. Typical of the district.
Marga Lacabe September 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Thomas, how do you know? Because you haven't read about it on Patch? It seems like the parents were promptly notified of the incident, the police already apprehended one suspect, and this will go from there. What exactly do you suggest the district had done? Tom, do you know what type of graffiti it was?
Thomas Clarke September 18, 2011 at 01:26 AM
Grafitti patterns and vandalism in elementary schools shortly after the advent of the new school year and just after a very artificial homecoming event tells most scentient beings something. This event is clearly an effort at expression of anger at the school administration. The anger is reflective of the community and parents and the students. That the school board trustees, chief and mayor did not say anything, but chose to weigh in on the gun controversy shows how out of touch they are. The anger and frustration that the vandals shared shows much of what is wrong in the community. That leaders have chosen to not rise to the challenge and work collaboratively to address the issues bubbling beneath the surface is hardly a surprise.
Marga Lacabe September 18, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Thomas, it's really hard to take you seriously when you don't first bother to find out what you are talking about. Do you even know what homecoming at the elementary schools is?
Tom Abate (Editor) September 18, 2011 at 03:04 AM
The graffiti covered hundreds of square feet. I did not see it and cannot describe it.
ken September 18, 2011 at 04:10 PM
So..your opinion is that the school should just leave the grafitti and NOT clean it up?
Marga Lacabe September 18, 2011 at 04:16 PM
It'd be interesting to see if it consisted of the same tags as the graffiti around town a few days ago. But it may also be that one incident inspired the other.
Maxie September 19, 2011 at 01:23 AM
Barry, Rob, Thomas, Ken, Tom = Several SMILING THUMBS up!!! Very well said. (From a Garfield Gators - and all other San Leandro schools - friend) Marga, just go away. Pay more attention to your two grade school daughters. They need you more than we do. Quit trying to challenge and belittle those who know the truth and facts, and pick people's statements apart and twist them around, like you did to others on the other Patch article...just because your husband works for the school board. You know about as much as your daughters do about these issues. Marga the Menace = Several sour faced frowning THUMBS DOWN.
Tom Abate (Editor) September 19, 2011 at 02:34 AM
My hope would be that when we disagree here, we disagree with the ideas not the people.
Maxie September 19, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Exactly, Tom. Thank you. It is non productive, and potentially destructive, when someone does not simply disagree... but attacks, challenges, takes another person's inventory, demands "statistics" or "proof" of ones personal experiences, and denies or tries to twist the facts and truth around. Personal experience or valuable information shared by others should not be challenged, minimized, intimidated or ignored. This has been a big problem for years, when interacting with a certain handful of people that are supposed to be helping, but have not, and will not. This is not a debate table for a person that is planning to run for a position on the school board, or any other self serving interest just for their own benefit, or benefit of an organization that they are involved in that is unrelated to the San Leandro Schools and neighborhoods. When they violate the respect and rights of others and their comments, by acting in that manner, it appears they are only here for those other purposes. They just don't belong here. There are other discussions boards for that. Your wonderful article here, about James A. Garfield elementary school, is one that has been needed for a long time. Little has been said about the school and its serious problems that have come up over the years. Thanks so much!!
Marga Lacabe September 19, 2011 at 04:05 AM
Tom, I have found these "discussions" very educational. I have had many, many, arguments over the internet - quite a few here - but they had always been either about facts or opinions based on those facts. Never before had I actually encountered people who dismissed the importance of facts as a foundation for opinions. If the postings weren't so hateful, I would almost think they were satirical (and if they are satirical, one of the keys for good satire is to know when the point has been made). But I don't think they are, and I also don't think they are mere political attacks or attempts to intimidation - they are too crude for that. Which brings me back to the question of education. My 9-year old daughter told me that she spent two days in class studying the difference between facts and opinions, she could define both and provide examples of each without a problem. I was glad to see that the schools are directly teaching about these things, and not trusting that kids will just "get it". But clearly that doesn't work for all. Here we have three self-proclaimed adults who not only can't tell the difference between either, but who get offended that anyone would indeed expect that opinions be based on facts. This is disconcerting. Was it their education that failed them? How do we avoid failing our kids in the same way? And how do we, as a society, get together when we can't agree on what the basis of reality is?
Maxie September 19, 2011 at 04:13 AM
I've been posting your link on various websites and pages, (thanks again!) , and spreading the word to others (a couple contacts/friends at NBC included), about the meeting Monday. Understandably, they cannot guarantee it will become a TV news story yet or not, but hopefully it will soon. Much better and more important than watching those "Anonymous" protesters at SF BART stations every Monday. It would be great if the meeting will turn out to be a full house meeting with standing room only, and more meetings like this will come about in the future. http://sanleandro.patch.com/articles/this-week-in-review-8bbb28c6?ncid=wtp-patch-readmore


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