Vandalism at Waluga Junior High School leads to charges

The Lake Oswego Police Department has charged several local teens who allegedly defaced Waluga Junior High School with paintballs and left the phrase 'bomb 4/30' on its exterior last weekend.

The individuals used paintball guns to splatter paint at the school, and LOPD officers later found evidence of extinguished fires and alcohol consumption.

James Robert Grey, 18, a senior at Lakeridge High School, was cited with reckless burning, providing alcohol to minors and third-degree criminal mischief.

Grey was with five minors who gathered outside the school after dark Friday night, according to LOPD Capt. Don Forman.

'Bomb 4/30' - a reference to Monday's date - was written by hand inside a paint splatter on a rear window.

One 17-year-old male was charged with third-degree criminal mischief. His 15-year-old brother was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct related to the public alarm caused by the graffiti.

Other juveniles were charged with minor in possession of alcohol.

The Review does not print names of minors charged with misdemeanor crimes.

Investigators found no reason to believe the suspects intended to harm anyone at the school. Forman called the vandalism 'bad decision-making.'

On Tuesday, Grey had changed his MySpace page headline to: 'Mistakes are the only way you learn … and I've got a lot of learning to do.'

Police contacted Superintendent Bill Korach Sunday evening after finding the message at the school, which had not been entered.

With the assistance of LOPD, Lake Oswego School District administrators searched the school and determined that the words 'bomb 4/30' was nuisance vandalism and not a threat. School was held Monday as scheduled.

Contrary to one circulating rumor, the school was not evacuated.

LOPD officer and school liaison Craig Renning patrolled the building throughout the day.

Waluga officials sent out an e-mail Sunday night alerting parents of the graffiti. A number of parents chose to keep their children home from school Monday.

Others did not hear about the vandalism until later in the day, and the school gave students the option to leave at any time.

'We respected their right to do that,' Principal Steve Sherrell said.

Because of the fearful situation, the school's absence rate spiked 15 percent, Sherrell said. Attendance numbers were back to normal by Tuesday.

Waluga has experienced nuisance vandalism several times in the past year, but the most recent marked the first involving threat-related words.

According to Sherrell, vandalism typically occurs at Waluga during summer break or periods of sunny weather.

'There's lots of activity on the campus all the time and kids view this as a safe place to hang out in the neighborhood,' he said. 'I have my own child here in school. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't safe.'

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