Story by Sonya Shimpock
Photo by Rachel Shin-Hye Choi
Vandalism of the basketball courts and the wall of the SPHS Aquatics Center occurred over the summer, in the last week of July.
“I think I heard about it first from Ray [Alarcon], our lead custodian, and then Alfredo Perez, who runs maintenance,” SPHS Principal, John Eldred said.
An unknown perpetrator had graffitied large, nonsensical lines and swirls over the basketball wall on Diamond Street. The vandal wrote obscenities in black lettering across the wall of the Aquatics Center.
News of the incident quickly spread to immediate neighbors of the graffitied school property. “[M]y neighbor texted me at 3:38 p.m. She asked if I saw the graffiti across the street from our homes and also at the basketball courts,” An anonymous South Pasadena resident said. “I actually hadn’t noticed it, but [I] was appalled when I went to look. I thought it was a bad decision and a silly and childish thing to do.”
The incident occurred over the summer and was dealt with before students returned to school. According to Alfredo Perez, the head of SPHS maintenance, the total cost of labor and maintenance to repair the damage totaled about $850.
“Big shoutout to our maintenance crew,” Perez said. “We had two maintenance staff members working on it for four hours each and [they] did an amazing job removing all the graffiti.”
The total cost to restore the school property to its original condition was over $400, which means that this crime could be charged as a felony. However, according to Eldred, SPUSD would only impose a fine and a suspension.
“I can’t suspend you over the summer, but I can suspend you once the school year starts. And, most importantly, [whoever did this] would have been billed for the many hours it took to clean it up and any supplies that we would use. We would have billed the family,” Eldred said. “This is my third year here, and this is the first graffiti that I’ve seen. Sometimes we get little marker stuff here and there but nothing this big.”
In the past few years at SPHS, such large occurrences of graffiti on school campus have been a rarity. The perpetrator is still unidentified.