School bus for disabled students hit by vandals

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Thousands of dollars worth of damage was caused by vandalism at a Charleston County charter school. The target, a bus used by severely handicapped children.

School officials at Pattison's Academy say someone broke into the school's only bus, and set off the fire extinguishers on board. They called the act mean, hurtful and unnecessary.

The vandals showered and sprayed the special bus sometime Sunday night. It was covered from top to bottom.

"It was like a snow storm in there, just all covered in white," said Robin Halewood-Guerard, the school's principal.

A bus driver made the discovery Monday morning.

"It just covered the floor, the paneling, all in the lift that we use to get the wheel chairs up," Halewood-Guerard said.

The chemical residue also drenched the driver's seat, the air vents and emergency compartments.

Each morning Pattison's students rely on the bus to get them to and from school. The children receive therapy and education at the facility. But, because of the problem with the bus on Monday, they had to find another way.

"It's a huge inconvenience to the parents, nothing about their day is easy," said Halewood-Guerard. "It takes a long time to get them ready and to get them loaded into the bus, when they have a bus."

She tells us it added extra stress to the kids, as well as the parents.

It was cleaned and put back in use by Tuesday, though the damage was already done.

"It's not just vandals, not just a crazy thing to do, it's a mean thing to do. It really impacted a lot of people, in not a very good way."

The bus is worth about $60,000. Pattison's haven't got the bill yet for the cost to clean it, but they expect that price to be very high.

According to Charleston Police, no arrests have been made.

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