Vandalized bus leaves Mildred Hall staff devastated
The principal of Yellowknife’s Mildred Hall School described an attack on a school bus as “sad and frustrating” as the school district decided whether to release footage of the perpetrators.
Katey Simmons said a lawyer was reviewing the district’s ability to publish the footage, which she said showed four “older teens” attacking the vehicle on Sunday. Many of its windows were broken and repairs may take a month, Simmons said.
The school is establishing the extent to which its insurance covers repair costs.
The same set of youths had been caught by a security guard breaking into the school’s music room on the same day. They fled, abandoning three guitars they had tried to steal, according to Simmons.
Police have been contacted, the school said. The identity of the suspects has not been established. Simmons said they were not Mildred Hall students.
“We know we have the perpetrators on video camera and we’re working with the police right now,” Simmons, who has worked at the school for 17 years, told Cabin Radio on Monday evening.
The bus is important as the school owns it, which means Mildred Hall saves significant sums by using its own bus to take students to events, rather than paying to hire transportation for each outing.
“It’s really sad and frustrating,” Simmons said. “You do this to help the kids and then four older teenagers, who have nothing to do with our school, can do this.
“We were really proud of our little bus because we bought it. We get to use it for extra programming, to enhance everything that’s going on inside the classroom.
“We have different programs that we want to run through the week and by having our little bus, it saves us a lot of money.”
Simmons said she did not want to launch a fundraiser – “I don’t want to be asking people to give me money, that’s not the way we work” – but feared the insurance deductible for the damage “could be in the tens of thousands.” The school was waiting to hear back from its insurer on Monday night.
“The windshield can be replaced within a couple of days,” said Simmons, “but the side windows that are broken have to be specially ordered in. We were told it could be three weeks to a month before we get it fixed.”
Security cameras have been installed at Mildred Hall since a break-in several years ago resulted in extensive damage inside the school. That a patrolling security guard disturbed the youths as they attempted to steal musical instruments on Sunday was, Simmons said, pure chance.