Students, parents and staff cleaning up, after local school was vandalized

Deputies searching for the person responsible

BRADENTON, Fla. - Students, parents and staff were cleaning up a local school. St. Joseph Catholic in Bradenton, was vandalized earlier this week. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out who trashed the place.

Valerie Longo says her heart sank, when she found out her kids' school had been vandalized. The hardest part, she says, was telling her children. Longo said, "I know my kids in particular were very upset when they heard the news."

School officials say someone ransacked the building Monday night. Water fountains and a security camera were damaged. Nets on the soccer goals were cut up and the school's bus, used for field trips, was trashed. Principal Kellie Potter found out from a maintenance supervisor.

"They slashed the seats on the inside of the bus. They did some mechanical damage by putting some, we still don't know what, in the tanks and reservoirs. Cutting some wires and belts and things," Potter said.

The vandals also destroyed the school garden. Today, students and parents planted new flowers with supplies donated by people in the community.

Arianna Longo is a 3rd grader.  "The principal has asked us to help out the garden and we've picked some partners and started planting. The older kids planted vegetables," Longo said.

School officials say even though there's thousands of dollars in damage, things should be back to normal, when students return from spring break next week. Potter said, "We might be small, but we're mighty and it's a good day at St. Joseph today."                                                                         

If you have any information about this crime, you're asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

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