Vandals Shut Three St. Croix Schools Tuesday

Juanita Gardine Elementary School and the shared modular campus of Arthur A. Richards Jr. High/Alexander Henderson Elementary all closed early Tuesday due to vandalism over the Memorial Day weekend, according to the Department of Education.

According to Carlos McGregor, St. Croix District superintendent, the WAPA line supplying water to the Arthur A. Richards Jr. High/Alexander Henderson Elementary shared campus was destroyed, cutting off the campus’s water supply.

WAPA engineers were called in to assess the damage and have determined that repairs would take several hours.

At Juanita Gardine, 16 classrooms, as well as the school’s cafeteria and kitchen, were burglarized and ransacked. Police forensic units are investigating the scene.

In a statement, acting Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin expressed her disappointment with the news of the vandalism.

“Stealing from and vandalizing our local schools is something we should all be concerned with as a community,” she said.

“This robs our children of important opportunities they should have, with the costs and time that go into replacing materials and equipment,” she said.

According to the Education Department, both schools are expected to resume regular hours of operation on Wednesday.

On Sunday, police and fire officials responded to a blaze in the cafetorium at the vacant Charles H. Emanuel Elementary School building in St. Croix. No injuries were reported in that case.