Sanford school turns vandalism into teaching moment
Posted February 2, 2012
Sanford, N.C. — 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.
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.