Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 31, 2013

After the twister

Vandals destroy parts of school the tornado did not

The Independent

ASHLAND — A March 2 tornado that swept through Salyersville rendered uninhabitable the Herald Whitaker Middle School in the small Magoffin County town. The heavily damaged building remains empty.

Mother nature can be blamed for the damage that closed the school, but since March, vandals have significantly increased the amount of damage to the school and made it less likely it will ever reopen. If it does reopen, vandals certainly have increased the cost of restoring the building.

While maintenance crews boarded up windows on the first floor, people have been climbing through a torn roof into the building and wrecking anything that wasn’t put into storage, school officials said. Graffiti is spray-painted on walls and anything left behind after the tornado has been destroyed.

Superintendent Stanley Holbrook said vandals can climb on their trucks and jump right into the shattered second story of the building. Police have stepped up patrols, but no vandals have been caught.

It is one thing for a natural disaster to damage a school building. Having humans with no respect for property rights increase the damage is another matter altogether. And it is one that should never have happened.