Classroom at Ramona elementary school flooded, vandalized

Incident occurred over Thanksgiving break

RAMONA, Calif. - Deputies are searching for whoever left behind a watery, expensive headache at Barnett Elementary in Ramona.

"It makes you upset during these holiday times," said David Ostermann, the assistant superintendent of the Ramona Unified School District.

Ostermann says two inches of water greeted staff inside two mobile classrooms after they returned from Thanksgiving break. Water was flowing from a sink filled with paper towels.

"Everything was wadded up and stuck right in there," said Ostermann. "They knew what they were doing."

Ostermann said sometime between Wednesday and Sunday, vandals broke a window and then used a crowbar to pry open a door before turning on the sink and flooding the room. The room was being used as a PTA workroom. The vandals also poured ketchup, mustard, orange juice and Crystal Light on nearly everything in the room.

Among the items that had to be tossed were dozens of books, props for a play and decorations for a holiday fair, which included a large Santa doll.

"This is really mean-spirited and it really taints the beginning of the holiday seasons," said Ostermann.

Amid the holiday season, the dryout begins. If the flooring cannot be saved, the total price tag will be about $10,000, which will come out of the school district's general fund.

"It's not just the dollars, but the morale of the school," said Ostermann. "Damage like this is senseless."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Sheriff's Detective Lori-Ann Wells at (760) 789-9157.

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