Covington community rallies around school after vandalism

Man cleans statue at St. Paul's School
Man cleans statue at St. Paul's School

Covington, La - The Covington community comes together to repair a school hit by vandals Friday night. It happened at St. Paul's School on Jahncke Avenue. Police say they're investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Early Saturday morning, St. Paul's students arrived for a school event and discovered graffiti spray painted on religious statues and school buildings.

Covington Police Capt. Jack West says, "Our officers found swastikas, hail Satan, Hitler, sexually oriented drawings."

Within minutes, word spread about the vandalism at the school, run by the Christian Brothers.

"All of a sudden people started showing up on our campus," said principal Brother Ray Bullard.

Some, like parent Don Stroble, came armed with pressure washers. Others brought sponges and soap. Soon, over one hundred people were cleaning up 40 different locations on campus tagged with paint. Even Covington Mayor Mike Cooper showed up at his alma matter to help saying, "I was quite outraged when I heard of the incident but when I saw the turnout of parents and alumni and Covington residents, that wanted to come out and help, it was just heartwarming."

14-year-old Shane Strander came with his mom to lend a hand saying, "I love this school so I would be really glad to help out, clean up in any way that I could."

With so many volunteers, it didn't take long for the graffiti to be done away with. Most of the volunteers say they just want the person or persons responsible to be caught. "It's a shame what they did and I hope they regret it and feel bad," Strander said.

Covington Police say most of the graffiti showed up on the chapel, so it could qualify as a hate crime.

Brother Ray Bullard wants everyone to know...a little graffiti won't hurt his students, or their school. "This community is stronger because of what this one individual or group of individuals did and in no way could destroy what we try to do here on this campus," Bullard said.

Covington Police urge anyone with information on this incident to call Crimestoppers at 822-1111. You could be eligible for a cash reward.