Vandals damage school buses

Published 6:49pm Saturday, June 29, 2013

While there’s still more than a month and a half before students have to return to school, several juvenile students in the Selma City School System couldn’t seem to stay away from the Selma City School busses and were caught vandalizing multiple vehicles Wednesday.

Ray Mathiews, transportation director for Selma City Schools, said several young students were found on the busses in the bus yard, located at 300 Washington St., Wednesday just before 1 p.m. Mathiews said the students discharged multiple fire extinguishers in and around the busses.

“The only real damage was a couple sets of keys are missing and a couple fire extinguishers were discharged — one inside and one on the outside,” he said. “The juveniles were caught and the police met with them and spoke with their parents.”

Mathiews said the bus yard is open during regular school day hours, and is locked up after hours.

“The problem with busses is you can’t padlock a bus — they’re always assessable to make sure that in a case of a fire or accident the children or passengers can get off the bus. You cannot secure a school bus for that reason,” he said. “But there’s really nothing of any value inside a bus, other than someone wanting to vandalize it.”

Mathiews said the police have spoken to the students, and the school plans to address them as well.

“We consider it a minor incident and the police are involved and are looking into it,” Mathiews said, noting he plans to meet with Selma City School Superintendent Gerald Shirley Monday to discuss their course of action. “We may be addressing the situation directly with the children to make them clean up or be responsible for the damages. We are certainly going to pursue that and that’s probably the way it’s going to be handled, but we’re certainly going to get it handled.”

Shirley agreed, saying he plans to speak with the transportation directors next week and gather more information about the vandals.

And while Wednesday’s incident was not the first act of vandalism the Selma City School busses have seen, Mathiews said the fact that it occurred during the middle of the day by young students made the situation more unusual.

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