Center Grove bleachers vandalized

4 Whiteland students suspects in damage found Friday at football stadium

After an investigation by school officials, four Whiteland Community High School students are suspected of causing $8,000 or more in damage at Center Grove High School.

All four students are younger than 18, and therefore are not being identified, Clark-Pleasant schools superintendent Patrick Spray said. Spray would not reveal what disciplinary measures would be taken.

Whiteland Community High School officials got information that led to the four students, and then contacted Center Grove school officials, Spray said.

Early Friday morning before the Whiteland and Center Grove football teams faced off that night, Center Grove maintenance and students told school officials that blue paint had been splattered on seats on the stadium’s home side. Paint was also discovered in the aisles, on parts of the press box and field turf and words were written. Eggs were thrown at the press box windows, the north ticket booth windows and the video scoreboard at the south end of Ray Skillman Stadium.

A Whiteland baseball helmet with blue paint was found at the center of the football field, according to the police report. No other areas were vandalized.

The cost of the cleanup, currently estimated to be between $5,000 and $8,000, could increase if some of the seats need to be replaced, school officials said.

“We are disappointed that four of our Whiteland Community High School students are suspects in the vandalism incident that occurred recently at Center Grove High School. Both Whiteland Community High School and Center Grove High School take great pride in the sportsmanship displayed by our student-athletes and fans both on and off the playing field,” according to a statement from Clark-Pleasant schools.

“It is unfortunate that a few students have chosen to make poor choices. Their actions do not represent the attitudes or culture of both of our school communities,” the statement said.

On the night of Aug. 23, the rock at the northwest corner of the football field at Whiteland Community High School was vandalized with red spray paint. School officials and Whiteland police have tried to find video showing who vandalized the rock, but have not been successful.

“We’re still keeping our ear to the ground and continuing to look into leads on that,” Spray said.

Spray wouldn’t speculate on whether the damage to Center Grove’s facility was in retaliation for the previous vandalism at Whiteland Community High School. Center Grove and Whiteland played each other Friday night as part of an annual football series that began in 2011. The series was supposed to continue through the 2019 season, though both schools had previously chosen to end the contract. The Trojans won every meeting, including Friday’s 41-0 finale.

Such acts of vandalism shed a negative light on both schools, Spray said.

“The reality is if you liken it to your own kids, it is disappointing,” he said. “They’re damaging property, and it is illegal.”

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.