Three pupils are suspected in destruction of school sign

April 06, 2000

Three Severna Park Middle School pupils are suspected in the destruction of a new $5,000 sign outside the building -- the result of a long fund-raising effort by pupils and parents.

Two of the pupils have been charged as juveniles with malicious destruction and malicious burning of the sign, which measured 6 feet by 4 feet and depicted the school mascot, a Spartan figure.

A third suspect has been identified, police said.

"It was devastating," Principal Sharon Morell said of the damage to the sign, which was burned during the weekend. "The kids were really in shock."

Pupils sold pizza, T-shirts and flowers to raise money for the sign. The PTO also raised money for the sign, which was placed last month.

Since the incident was reported in a local newspaper, Morell said, she has received several calls from the community offering suggestions and help.

The boys who have been implicated could be ordered to pay for the damage if found responsible by a juvenile master, police said yesterday.

A parent who read about the vandalism talked with her 13-year-old son, who acknowledged that he and his friends were responsible, police said.

The 13-year-old boy's mother called police Tuesday evening, leading to charges against him and a 14-year-old who came forward, accompanied by his mother, to surrender, said Eastern District Officer Martin Mendoza. A third boy is expected to be charged, he added.

The two boys were released to parental custody.

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