Las Vegas Sun

August 17, 2019

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Completely trashed’: Community rallies to help Las Vegas elementary school hit by vandals

Vandalism at Robert E. Lake Elementary School

Courtesy / Tammie Gallimore

An art room at Robert E. Lake Elementary School was vandalized, ruining many student art supplies.

Vandalism at Lake Elementary School

An art room at Robert E. Lake Elementary School was vandalized, ruining many student art supplies. Launch slideshow »

Tammie Gallimore had her art room at Robert E. Lake Elementary School ready to go for the school year before she left for summer vacation.

The tables were labeled with her students’ names and the furniture was just right, including artwork on the walls and other decorations to make the room “as inviting as possible” for her grade-school students.

It isn’t so inviting anymore.

Gallimore was devastated to find her classroom “completely trashed” in late July, about three weeks before children arrive for the first day of school on Aug. 12. Vandals took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over the classroom at the east Las Vegas school, also opening tempera paints and squirting them on the carpet, walls and ceilings.

“It was pretty horrific,” she said. “... It’s like they walked all over to make sure everything was hit.”

One of the most disheartening things about the crime, said Principal Larry McHargue, is that this is the second time the classroom has been vandalized in Gallimore’s 13 years running the school’s art program. Vandals ransacked a supply closet a few years ago, he said.

“I had personally put a lock where the problem was, so I was a little disgruntled when I saw the room,” McHargue said.

McHargue said the vandals last week got into the classroom through a hatch on the roof, which had inadvertently been left unlocked following repairs of the school’s air conditioning unit.

“The first time they just hit her supply closet,” he said. “They definitely did a number this time.”

Clark County School District police are investigating, McHargue said, and the monetary damage has not been determined.

Of course, there were some things destroyed that Gallimore can’t put a price tag on. The vandals desecrated Gallimore’s personal artwork, including sculptures and three charcoal drawings her late father matted for her.

“That was probably what hurt the most, especially with the three charcoal drawings ... my dad was so proud of them,” she said.

The silver lining has been the community support Gallimore says she has received.

About $1,800 was raised through a GoFundMe campaign to replace the destroyed supplies. Gallimore said she also had the Boy Scouts, Las Vegas Avengers, Las Vegas Cause-Players Alliance and Never Give Up Foundation offer donations and help in the cleanup.

Gallimore, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, is overwhelmed with the support from neighbors and community members, some of whom she has known since childhood.

While eager to accept the help and get started on redoing her classroom, she isn’t sure when it will be ready. Custodians are still in the process of repairing damage and repainting the walls.

“Waiting is driving me crazy,” she said. “My biggest goal is to make sure the furniture is back where it belongs, and make sure everything is clean and safe for the students.”

Anyone wanting to further assist Gallimore can call the school at 702-799-5530.