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Vandal targets elementary school garden again

Posted at 6:50 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 21:50:46-04

Escondido Police are looking for the vandals who destroyed a local elementary school garden for the second time in five months.

“I felt like someone punched me in the gut,” said Donna Sellier, a second grade teacher who oversees the school garden at Conway Elementary.

She says she went to the garden on Sunday morning and found it vandalized.

“A lot of teachers and students have put a lot of work into this garden. You just wonder why anyone would do this,” said Sellier.

Sellier believes the vandal likely hopped two fences, stepped on a tree before smashing pots, dumping a shopping cart into the garden and ripping out and stomping on dozens of plants.

“I felt like someone broke my toys,” said Dylan Powell, one of the second graders who helped plant the garden.

Next to the garden Monday morning, students wrote their feelings on paper. Phrases like “I feel mad” and “I feel sad” were written on the sheet.

There were similar feelings last May, when a vandal broke in and yanked out a dozen plants.

“I had students donating their allowance to fix it,” said Sellier.

Thanks to donations from students and the community, the garden was rebuilt and expanded.

After this vandalism, there was another example of support. The police officer who took the report gave Sellier a $50 gift card from Home Depot.

“He told me not to give up and to plant the garden again. That touched me. It was very kind,” said Sellier, choking back tears.

On Monday morning, Powell and his classmates cleaned up the mess. Students and teachers together plan to rebuild it again.

If you have any information on any of the vandalism cases, you're asked to call Escondido police at (760) 839-4722.