Multiple school break-ins hit Cesar Chavez Academy

March 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A string of break-ins at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto has teachers, students, and police on alert.

Wednesday morning, the principal found 17 rooms vandalized and laptops, projectors, and cameras stolen. On Tuesday, he came to school and found seven rooms in the same condition. Also, earlier this month, thieves broke into four class rooms.

The school has lost more than $10,000 worth of equipment, which will likely not be replaced.

Principal David Herrera says all of the equipment was either donated or grants helped pay for it all.

He expected the technology to help his students, who already struggle. About 93 percent of Cesar Chavez students live in poverty and 80 percent don't speak English as a first language.

The equipment helped them learn visually rather than verbally, which can be more difficult.

Most of the equipment arrived this month, which is why detectives think the ones responsible may be students. Cameras were rolling during this latest robbery and three masked thieves were caught on tape.

"This school in particular has been getting it more than other schools," said East Palo Alto Police Sgt. Paul Norris.

The police chief and superintendent are meeting this week - to talk about stepping up patrols and the kind of coverage police can afford to give the school on a long term basis.


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