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Sanford school turns vandalism into teaching moment

Posted February 2, 2012

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— Police are trying to determine who vandalized a school attached to a Sanford church late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Rev. Tim Murr, executive pastor of Grace Chapel, said five buildings at the church's K-12 school were damaged. Spray paint covered desks, lockers, walls, computers and phones and included profanity, obscene images and racial slurs, he said.

Murr said the vandals kicked in a few doors and broke into a few desks looking for money. Less than $800 was taken, with most from the school finance office, he said.

"It looks like they just took some cans of spray paint and were just looking to do some vandalism,” Murr said. "My first thought was we are going to have to send all the students home and spend a day to clean it."

As word spread about the vandalism, volunteers showed up at Grace Christian School to help clean. David Marsh, the owner of Sanford Honda, sent workers with a chemical that quickly removed the paint.

"Him sending over his employees was just a tremendous blessing to us," Murr said.

Investigators with the Lee County Sheriff's Office said they had never seen school vandalism on such a large scale. They estimated the damage at $10,000 to $15,000.

School went on, but students said it wasn't a typical day.

"Who would do something like this? It's kind of like an attack on God's property," said sophomore Anna Murr, the pastor's niece.

Grace Christian School vandalism Volunteers help clean up vandalism at Sanford school

Pastor Murr said the worst part of the experience was that students arriving on campus Thursday morning saw all of the damage.

"I am really of the philosophy that I will let God take care of (the vandals)," he said. "I am much more concerned with using it as an opportunity to teach our students the way you react when someone does something wrong to you.”

Teachers and school administrators talked with students about the vandalism, he said.

"We are going to turn the other cheek, and I do not wish ill will on anybody that was a part of this. I wish they would have the same peace in their heart that I have right now,” he said.

The lesson seemed to take hold in students.

"I just kind of felt a little sad towards them that they would do something. I don't want to feel bitter towards it," Anna Murr said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • barbstillkickin Feb 3, 2012

    This is the smartest thing I have ever seen in any school. They are giving the vandals a message that they do not care if you ruin the buildings with your little pain cans because they are stronger then you and it will not stop them from teaching and the kids from learning. Great Job Principal. You got the full picture.

  • Remy Feb 3, 2012

    loprestw = uneducated

  • uncfan89 Feb 3, 2012

    oh so you are one of those who gets in a wad because you don't believe in God, and cant stand the fact that others do. Well for your information I believe in God and I am also college educated. A BA in Biology as a matter of fact. You see you can believe in science and also believe in GOD, if you are just willing to open your mind.

  • uncfan89 Feb 3, 2012

    I have an education, a very good one thank you very much and it is still a useless comment. It is a crime and crimes usually get reported. Yes, it is God's property and that is why it makes this even more disgraceful. People should have more respect.

  • loprestw Feb 3, 2012

    LOL but it was God's property, I guess thats why they do't pay taxes. What a useless story!!

  • sunshine1040 Feb 2, 2012

    I do not think the fact that the school was owned by a church makes much difference It is the same crime whether church state or private property and i hope the perps are caught and get more then a slap and community service