Music has been a tradition at Franklin Middle School for decades. Pictures and trophies line the walls of the band room where Jeff Dickey has taught a generation of youngsters to play, even through the worst of economic times.
"We do fundraisers all year long. And now we won't get any help from the district. The district really has no money to help us out," said Dickey.
But as the band played its biggest fundraiser concert of the year Tuesday night, school officials say a pair of thieves descended on the parents raising money in the lobby, and snatched a box containing more than $700.
"It's discouraging when two people can come in and take so much away, so much that's so needed," said Dickey.
"This is something that hasn't happened before and we were totally shocked by the incident, and disheartened," said Alana Shackelford from the Vallejo School District.
School district officials say they've turned over surveillance video to police, who confirm they're looking for at least one juvenile suspect. In the meantime, the district will have extra security on campus. But with the thieves still on the loose, Franklin's principal, Michelle Jordan-Faucett, had to make another tough decision. She canceled Friday night's winter dance, which was also a fundraiser for the school band.
"We can't take any chances. Our kids' safety is the most important for us right now, not money," said Jordan-Faucett.
Those students continue to practice their drums and marching routines, but their teacher can tell they're hurting on the inside.
"They're really feeling kind of low, you know, they've worked so hard to put this program on, knowing it would help raise money for us. They're feeling really down that a big part of that was taken from them," said Dickey.
The school district officials say while the investigation continues, Franklin Middle School's band is accepting donations to make up for the loss. Parents who want to donate can send money straight to the school.