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Taggers vandalize playground at school for deaf and blind

By Sarah Dallof | Posted - Aug. 16, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Parents of deaf and blind students are trying to figure out how to tell their children that someone has vandalized the new playground they worked so hard to raise the funds to build.

What took seconds for vandals to destroy Monday night took the staff at Jean Massieu School for the Deaf and Blind hours to clean up Tuesday. Some of the equipment at the Salt Lake City school will just have to be replaced.

"I can't describe how upsetting (this was)," Principal Jill Radford said through a translator. "It was more of a disgust."

Radford walked KSL News through some of the special features of the brand new playground Tuesday afternoon. It's wheelchair-accessible and has incorporated different textures on handrails to give blind students a tactile experience. The slide is even made of special metal that reduces static electricity for kids with cochlear implants.

But what stands out most to Radford is the new addition of ugly blue paint. "I hope they feel guilty enough to come forward and admit what they did was wrong, and come help us fix what they did," she said.

The vandals focused on some of the most unique pieces on the playground: a bee toy, the tic-tac-toe board, a Plexiglas police car. They covered them with symbols and expletives.

The vandalism is especially painful for those who helped with the two-year fundraising effort to build the playground.

"We had kids who brought in their piggy banks with all of $3 in change, certain they had enough to buy a slide," said Crystal Hess, PTA president at the school.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is still planned for Monday. Adults hope to have everything cleaned up by then, even if certain pieces have to be removed. They don't want the actions of a few overshadowing the excitement of the students.

So far, no witnesses to the vandalism have come forward. If you have any information, you're asked to call Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000.

Email: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof

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