$25,000 in vandalism at Harvest Park Middle School | June 7, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 7, 2013

$25,000 in vandalism at Harvest Park Middle School

Perpetrators found but police will not seek charges

by Glenn Wohltmann

School officials confirmed a break-in at Harvest Park Middle School over Memorial Day weekend that resulted in thousands of dollars in damages, but they are saying little else about the incident.

Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi estimated the damages at $25,000.

"We are working with the police," Ahmadi said. "We do our part and they do theirs."

Police last week confirmed that juveniles broke in and defecated on computers in the school's library. No one would confirm how the juveniles entered or what other vandalism was done.

None of the juveniles in the case has been arrested, and police will not be seeking charges against them, Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber said.

"It's basically juvenile mischief. The elements of vandalism weren't there," Schlehuber said.

Ahmadi said all of those involved have been taken out of school. No suspensions or expulsions were on the Tuesday night school board agenda, and Adhmadi said, "We're in the discipline process."

Police and school district authorities are also investigating threatening graffiti found on a wall in a girl's bathroom at Pleasanton Middle School. The district warned parents in an email about the graffiti May 30.

"Because this graffiti included a threat toward the school, the Pleasanton Police Department is investigating this incident along with school officials," the district stated in an email.

"The graffiti has been photographed by students and shared with others so there are rumors circulating. We want to assure all Pleasanton Middle School students and families that appropriate precautions are being taken to ensure a safe and secure campus for all students. We will continue to work with Pleasanton PD on this matter," the email said.

It asks any parent or student who might have information about the graffiti to contact the school or Pleasanton police. The district's anonymous tip line is 417-5199, and will accept voice mail or texts. The Pleasanton police non-emergency number is 931-5100.

Schlehuber said police are continuing to investigate the incident, the third in three months.

In March, graffiti at Foothill nearly closed the school, with police, plain clothes officers and school district security swarming the campus.

The Foothill graffiti, which started with an expletive and added, "Watch me shoot everyone on March 14," was written on a girls' bathroom wall Tuesday and quickly photographed by several students who then posted the message on Facebook and other social media.

Later that month, graffiti was discovered at Amador, but it was found at the end of the day and not deemed a serious threat.

No arrest has been made in any of the graffiti incidents.


Posted by witheld, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Juvenile Mischief?? is that what the police are calling this incident at HPMS Memorial Day? So let me get this straight, these four 8th grade HPMS boys got caught after breaking and entering the school and defecating and urinating on books and computers in the library that caused $25k in damage and Police Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber states "the elements of vandalism weren't there?? Where did you grow up that this kind of behavior was called Youthful mischief???

If this wasn't an act of vandalism what is?? Perhaps Burning the school to the ground? or detonating a pipe bomb inside?

I thought graffiti and damage in excess of $500 was considered vandalism. School officials are saying little about the incident... WHY? This is the typical cover up mentality brokered between these families and the city. What a disgrace!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

Children make terrible mistakes and society pays the price.

Perhaps these VANDALS can be involved in community service projects for a few years. Like cleaning toilets, mopping, sweeping, picking up trash in parks, etc.

It is disgraceful behavior and they would likely learn from some temporary hard labor.

Posted by Guest, a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

I agree with the other posts. This was not mischief of teenagers. Mischief of being a teen is going and doorbell ditching, toilet papering someone's house,prank calling someone etc. If you defecate on computers in a school library, it most likely was something that was thought up of well in advanced. Heck, even if they went in and tossed books on the floor I would understand- but going the bathroom!? That's just nasty. I also question the cost as I've seen a few different prices listed in different articles. $25,000 for cleanup, new computers, and installation seems a bit cheap. Maybe $25,000 for each family seems more reasonable. It just seems that the city and superintendent are trying to keep things on the hush.

These kids should be sent to work on a farm or something during the summer, dealing with the clean up of cow dung, chicken poop, and the like. Maybe then they would truly know what appreciation means.

Posted by registered user, Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Sounds like the parents agreed to pay for all of the damages in exchange for keeping their kids out of jail (probably threw in an honorarium to the police retirement fund). Way to teach the ill-mannered brats that mommy and daddy will always buy their way out of a situation. I think the city should demand that the cops do their JOBS and arrest these kids for destruction of public property. If they do $25,000 worth of damage, that should be a felony. Letting them off without any charges is irresponsible police work.

If they stole $25,000 worth of computers, would the cops treat it any differently?

Posted by Whoa!, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

So, that's about $5,200 per kid, a pretty significant consequence if I assume the families are going to do the right thing and pay for it. Of course, I'd have my kid cleaning gas station bathrooms about town all summer long. I'd also take out an ad apologizing to everyone and telling them what I was doing to fix it. The school deciding not to comment about the consequence isn't helping anyone because everyone assumes the worst. Maybe they haven't finalized the resolution yet.

Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

@Parent of Two. EXACTLY. If I steal $25,000 from you, but after being caught offer to pay it back to you, does that relieve me of charges? NO. I am so tired of Pleasanton trying to keep all the "bad" news hidden. Whether its the PPD or the PUSD. If they would charge these kids and make them accountable for their actions, then maybe others down the line will remember before they do something stupid. (Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Posted by Whoa!, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I like the irony of the headline says "$25,000 in vandalism", but Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber said "The elements of vandalism weren't there". Per the dictionary: "willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property". Maybe Seargent Schlehuber would like to explain the elements because he's not making much sense to people. Perhaps it's just double speak for 'we are going to handle this another way' eg: The parents are going to pay for the damages so this doesn't go on their criminal record.

Posted by withheld, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Thank God I'm not alone in my thoughts about this incident and the way it's being "mishandeled" by our school Superintendent and Police.

I especially like the suggestions of a summer long, community service program for these boys. I think that would have a lasting impression on them and hopefully build more respectful future young men.

There's too much coddling and leniency regarding today's youth and sadly, I'm sure this will not be the last time we hear of such incidents.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

It is imperative that the parents reimburse the school district, with compounding 10% interest. As for prosecution, I say any approach that minimizes cost to taxpayers is most ideal. We cannot afford to pay our overpaid public servants for redundant, unnecessary services. We are awash in debt. If you think it's bad now, just wait until the seas build up in response to the largest tsunami this state has ever experienced. Just look at Calpers and Calstrs. They lie about their solvency, as do our public officials. We're facing the apocalypse of tax increases for our grandchildren and great grand children. (Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Posted by Very Concerned, a resident of Las Positas
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

I am extremely concerned. Defecating and urinating on property is a behavior of an animal. This thinking is not just a harmless prank. There is something seriously wrong with kids who think this is ok. To do the act of urinating and defecating in public is already not acceptable, but to do it in the library on books? on a computer? This behavior is disturbing and I strongly suggest that the parents seriously look into what other things these boys are doing. I don't want to hear a few years down the line that one of these boys went a step further and do a heinous act. I really hope that parents do what it takes to help these boys while they still can.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

Leave ANIMALS out of this. They are boys who know how to behave in a destructive anti-social way.

I agree into looking into what other things these boys are doing.

Paying a fine may be helpful, but it doesn't change what drives the behavior of the boys who are happy to destroy public property.

It will eventually come back and bite them in the butt.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

I would suggest that the boys be assigned to work with seniors who need assistance and the poor.

Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I think I missed the part that says the parents have agreed to pay for anything. Their worthless brats get away with vandalism and they not only keep the brats out of the news, they get off with no charges, no penalties and no consequences.

Nice going parents. Comparing you and your brats to animals is a supreme insult to animals. An animal does what it does out of instinct for survival. Your kids do what they did because you raised garbage to think that it can do anything without any fallout. And you have made that a reality for them.

I would like to know the names of these families and would hope that they would each suffer at least $25,000 worth of "non-vandalism" as they allowed their kids to do it. The families and kids should be named so that all of us will know who to watch out for in the future. Clearly these useless kids will not stop here as they got away with everything!

These families need to be charged for 100% of the cost of the vandalism, all of the cost of the PD and PUSD salaries to deal with it and about a $10,000 fine on top of it. Don't have the cash? The whole family can work it off cleaning public toilets at a buck an hour until it's paid back. Without consequences, very painful ones, these families will continue to nurture that behavior in their kids.

Posted by PMS parent, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

This past year I have watched the counselors and administrators at PMS handle a couple of challenging student problems and came away incredibly impressed by their fairness, firmness, and professionalism. These people show tremendous thoroughness and patience with kids who are at one of the most difficult ages to work with. I am sure the administrators at Harvest Park and the district office are applying the same very reasonable set of policies. I think a rush to judgement about their effectiveness without the facts is counterproductive. If you read the state education policies you realize they must keep the process confidential and go through a series of procedures. Hopefully, they can help the parents involved to teach these kids to maintain appropriate behavior and rehabilitate them. I hope their efforts towards restitution and good behavior will be met with support from the community so the kids don't feel permanently angry at society for rejecting them. While their actions were shocking and deplorable, hopefully they still have the potential to become good people.

Posted by pms parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2014 at 7:28 am

the kids were 14 years old, and if you think some sort of plotting went into this, you all are over thinking this completely!! Sure it's not your typical prank, but what if that was your kid? Oh wait of course its not your kid because they are so perfect just like mommy and daddy were, right. Typical Pleasanton parent blowing things out of proportion, because these stay at home house wives need something to do. Or, they are just trying to feel young and stay in the gossip like they did as SNOBBY teenagers. Well, you all can rant off about this but who is hearing?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

The 2 boys got together at a specific time so that must have been planned. They made decisions re: what to destroy. They decided NOT to set the school or what they trashed on fire. yup...

I believe that 14 yr. old boys are quite capable of planning such vandalism, and hopefully their punishment will fit the crime.

There are millions of stay at home wives/mothers in the USA who are very productive, and their lives involve countless tasks to support the survival of their families. Thanks to stay at home wives, families function in their own special way. Gracias! VIVA STAY AT HOME WIVES! VIVA!

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