Students Mourn Animals Killed By Vandals in Santa Clara

Officials at Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara are still assessing the damage wrought by vandals who killed six caged animals and damaged school property last weekend, a spokeswoman said.

The school's principal and the Santa Clara Unified School District are working with Santa Clara police to prepare a list of the destruction done by the vandals on the campus at 3250 Monroe St. last Saturday and Sunday, district spokeswoman Jennifer Dericco said.

"There was quite a lot of damage," Dericco said.

Three boys, all middle schools students, were arrested Monday on suspicion of vandalism, burglary and cruelty to animals and were booked into Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.

Police have completed an investigation and forwarded the confidential juvenile criminal case to the district attorney's office, Clarke said.

Students at Wilcox High are upset with the loss of four chickens, a rabbit and a duck allegedly killed by the boys in the school's garden area where vegetables are also grown, Dericco said.

Special education students found interacting with the animals "soothing" and the school's culinary arts programs cooked eggs laid by the chickens, according to Dericco.

Earth sciences and biology students "are really missing them as part of the science program," Dericco said.

School officials are looking at building a fence taller than the 5-foot-high one around the garden on the campus that the vandals were able to leap over.

In a series of destructive acts over Saturday and Sunday, the vandals entered Wilcox's garden, opened a chicken coop and other cages and killed six of eight animals, leaving one chicken and a rabbit alive, Dericco said.

They also badly damaged the interior of a snack shack next to Wilcox's football field used to sell food and drinks during games.

The vandals tore down a fire extinguisher from a wall of the shack and sprayed flame retardant around inside, requiring the school to hire a professional service to clean up the mess, Dericco said.

The juveniles are also suspected of forcing their way into an area where the school stores used cars and engines for its automotive classes. The boys allegedly broke car windows and damaged some of the engines.

The dollar amount of damage to the autos and engines is difficult to estimate since they were donated to the school, according to Dericco.

Security cameras installed at the school captured video of the vandals in the automotive area and elsewhere on campus, except for the garden, Dericco said.

The school does not yet know how much money will be needed to cover the costs of the carnage, but members of the community around Wilcox have come forward offering to donate chicks for the chicken coop and host fundraisers to help defray expenses, she said.

The boys likely gained entry to the Wilcox campus by scaling the school's perimeter fence that is about 7 feet high, Dericco said.

The access gates to the campus are closed after school hours on weekdays, are reopened for sports activities on weekends and then closed again in the evenings, Dericco said.

The students who were arrested on suspicion of doing the damage and killing the animals were from a middle school within the Santa Clara Unified School District, she said.

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