Vandalism at FSHS casts pall on rivalry

A showdown between crosstown rivals Free State High School and Lawrence High School may have moved beyond the football field Friday.

According to Lawrence Police, between midnight Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday someone damaged five of Free State’s newly planted trees, scrawled graffiti on sidewalks and used toothpaste, shaving cream and toilet paper on the school’s statue. The estimated damage was $500.

“We all know that someone from Lawrence High did this,” FSHS junior Ashley Morgan said. “It seems like every year LHS students come over here and do something to our school instead of just proving themselves on the field.”

Lawrence High Principal Steve Nilhas said he was not surprised his students were being blamed.

“I think whenever you have two rival schools, things seem to heat up,” Nilhas said. “I have been interviewing students trying to find out what exactly happened and let students know if we (LHS) were responsible for these actions, it is not acceptable.”

Patsy Hoffman, parent of a Free State student, has spent a number of years helping improve the school. She was disappointed with the turn of events.

“For the past three years, we have been doing everything from putting in new trees to benches,” Hoffman said. “I felt the trees were part of our final stages, and now someone has ruined them. It just makes me sick.”

“I understand having school spirit. I even understand having a little fun between the two schools. What I don’t understand is when things are destroyed. Now it’s just a matter of finding out who is behind it all.”