LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. - The damage at a vandalized classroom for special needs students in Mulholland Middle School was overwhelming.
Cell phone video by a teacher showed that just about everything in the room had been trashed. The Los Angeles Police Department confirms that Chromebooks were also taken, in addition to gardening tools and quite a few other items.
The room was broken into several times this month, so teachers put together a GoFundMe, which was getting them some help until LAUSD asked that it be taken down immediately.
"We are forbidden to speak with you, sorry," I was told again and again by several teachers at the school.
The teachers we reached for comment say district officials are upset that they and the school are "looking bad" because of the publicity. The same publicity that is getting them monetary assistance and donations of all kinds of items seems to be problematic for LAUSD officials, who would not comment on camera about the allegation.
Keep in mind that we have received numerous GoFundMe pages, especially during the COVID closures, from parents, students and clubs associated with the district asking for coverage. Never have I run into this situation, so I made sure to direct inquiries to LAUSD, following up emails with phone calls.
I was told no one could speak on camera, and sent the following by a LAUSD spokesperson:
"We appreciate the community’s interest in supporting Mulholland Middle School and we are touched by the outpouring of support we have received. After fully assessing the damage to the classroom, Los Angeles Unified will be providing full funding to replace lost, stolen or damaged items. The school will also be introducing additional security measures to prevent another act of theft and vandalism.
If the community would still like to donate to support Mr. MacDonald’s excellent work at Mulholland Middle School, the school will be setting up a formal donation process on their website next week to ensure funds reach his classroom directly."
Off-camera, we are told that people can still drop off much-needed donations at the school if they don’t want to wait for a district-approved fundraising site. Again, no one at the school was allowed to speak with us.
LAPD does confirm they are investigating the vandalism and sources say that at least one student may have been involved in the break-in. Perhaps that’s why LAUSD stopped teachers, who had been doing repeated camera interviews stop talking.