Graffiti in Goessel, Hillsboro
Spray-paint vandalism throughout towns
Intermixed with vulgarity and the letters “KTP” were peace signs and flowers spray painted onto numerous buildings, schools, vehicles, and other property in Hillsboro, Goessel, and rural areas of the county last week.
“Graffiti is always here to a point, but not to this level,” sheriff Robert Craft said.
The sheriff’s office received multiple reports of spray-painted vandalism Thursday morning, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
The letters “KTP” have not been seen by the sheriff’s office or police department, and both Craft and Hillsboro police chief Daniel Kinning said they do not know a motive at this time.
A collaborative investigation between sheriff deputies and Hillsboro police officers indicated at least four suspects, ranging from 15 to 19 years old. No names were provided and no arrests or charges were filed.
Craft said the cases are expected to be presented to the Marion County Attorney for filing of charges later this week.
Students volunteer to scrub away vandalism
When Goessel High School agricultural mechanics students saw that spray-paint vandalism hit their high school’s property, they were the first to start scrubbing the graffiti away.
The students of Alicia Oard’s advanced agricultural mechanics class were not asked or told to help, but rather they took it upon themselves to ask Oard if they could help their custodian.
“I was blown away when I didn’t even have to ask them to go help,” Oard said. “By the time the bell rang and my students came into class, they had already gone to Ben, our custodian, to see if they could help in any way. They came to me and wondered if it was okay to spend time during our class scrubbing the paint off. ”
Cameron Nolte, junior in agricultural mechanics, was one of several students who spent his entire third hour scrubbing the vandalized school vehicles.
“It felt decent doing something for the school, especially since (graffiti) is a pretty uncommon thing for our town,” Nolte said. “We cleaned up by spraying the van and bus with water then scrubbing with sponges dipped in mineral spirits.”
Oard said she did not have to think twice about if whether or not taking time to clean the graffiti was a good reason for students to miss class.
“I think as an educator we have a bigger impact than you would think,” she said. “I could have told them no they needed to work in the classroom, but instead they taught me a valuable lesson that day.
“There were extremely vulgar things put on them and it could have been laughing stock for students their age. But here at Goessel, students understood that it was extremely inappropriate and should not be tolerated. That’s why they wanted to help clean the vehicles right away.”
As a new teacher to the district, Oard said she felt empowered by the volunteer spirit she saw.
“With this being my first week of school, I learned how tight knit this little community is and that they all care for each other,” she said. “That is one thing I love about Marion County in general, nobody is a stranger around here — they always give a helping hand.
“I was humbled to see so many students upset about what was done to their school and community and taking pride in cleaning up their school.”
Last modified Aug. 30, 2017