Four children, ages 8 to 10, are accused of causing possibly thousands of dollars worth of damage during a vandalism spree Sunday night at Memorial High School.
Eau Claire police spokeswoman Bridget Coit said police received a report from a passerby at about 7 p.m. Sunday that children were on the roof of the school.
Police arrived and found the four children a short distance from the school.
The children are suspected of creating a substantial amount of damage to the school and equipment owned by a construction company doing work at the school, Coit said.
The children used construction equipment to gain access to the roof. Most of the damage was centered on the north end of the school, she said.
The damage included:
• Obscene graffiti on both the school and the construction equipment.
• Damage to tools and building materials. Building bricks were thrown off the roof, damaging equipment and other bricks that were on the ground.
• Barricades and a cement mixer were knocked over.
• A fire extinguisher’s contents were sprayed on windows and the building.
• Some equipment was thrown down a storm drain.
• Chemicals and a blow torch were used to try to start fires. Those efforts were unsuccessful.
• The children are also suspected of finding bird nests on school property and killing baby birds in the nests.
Parents and guardians were contacted and all four children were referred to juvenile authorities for negligent handling of burning materials, criminal damage to property and trespassing.
Coit said police are working with the construction company and Eau Claire school district to place a value on the damage.
Eau Claire schools Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck thanked police for their work in responding to this incident.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong partnership and good working relationship with our local police department,” Hardebeck said.
“We also want to remind all children and families the importance of making good choices and engaging in responsible behavior both during the school year and over summer break,” she said.