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Another suspicious Sobrante Park fire

arson.jpgWhen Sobrante Park Elementary School kids came to school this morning, they saw a burned out portable classroom where they used to make art projects.

The fire happened last night, and firefighters say it looked suspicious – much like the arson at Peralta Elementary School last year. (Here’s a brief on last night’s fire.)

Carmen Denhams, the school secretary, told me this is the third time in a year this has happened. Last June, the district removed another portable after it was damaged in a fire (which, apparently, hasn’t been replaced). Just two weeks ago, the outside of the preschool portable was torched.

“It just made me sad because whoever did this, you’re hurting your own community,” Denhams said. “If you burn the school down, where are your kids going to go to get an education?”

Denhams said the mood at school is somber, but that the kids — who are taking state tests today –have taken the bad news in stride. “We have some really mature babies here, and they’re handling it very well.”

How widespread is this sort of after-hours vandalism on school property? Have many of the perpetrators been caught? I wonder if these fire-settings are random or targeted. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

image from BERSERKER’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.