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  • Writer's pictureEvie Sijl

Vandalism Investigation Continues

Christy Lozano Expresses her Views on the Incident

Santa Barbara police continue to investigate Monday night’s vandalism that left broken windows and other damage at Santa Barbara High School.

And the incident, which was noisy enough to prompt nearby residents to call the police, has raised unanswered questions about whether the students were graduating seniors and what consequences they may face if found guilty of vandalism.

Santa Barbara police told the News-Press Wednesday that there were no additional details beyond the initial news release sent to local media.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, the department’s public information officer, told the News-Press and other news outlets that the Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications received calls from several residents around 10:30 p.m. Monday. They said they reported loud, unusual noises and the sound of breaking glass coming from Santa Barbara High School.

Several officers went to the high school. When they arrived, they found 50 to 60 individuals fleeing the high school’s main building and running toward East Canon Perdido Street. Officers were able to detain 16 individuals and determined they were Santa Barbara High School students.

Sgt. Ragsdale said Tuesday that the officers’ investigation showed many students were attempting to perform a “senior prank” that involved gallons of baby oil, Vaseline, raw fish and oysters being placed all over the floors and door handles. Toilet paper and streamers were strewn in trees outside the school, and police discovered vandalism including broken windows and items spray painted, Sgt. Ragsdale said.

The Santa Barbara High School principal, Dr. Elise Simmons, was notified and responded to the school.

Sgt. Ragsdale on Tuesday said the total amount of damage and clean-up costs remained undetermined.

And police on Wednesday told the News-Press that there were no additional details to report.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District declined to comment on the vandalism after the

News-Press asked a spokesman whether the students were seniors, whether their diplomas would be withheld until they or their parents paid for the damage, and whether there was a monetary amount determined for the damage.

“With it being an ongoing investigation, it is our policy not to comment until outcomes are determined,” spokesman Nick Masuda told the News-Press Wednesday.

The News-Press also contacted Susan Salcido, the superintendent of Santa Barbara County schools, through a spokeswoman.

“We are not able to comment on an ongoing investigation,” Camie Barnwell, the county Office of Education’s director of communications, told the News-Press.

One person who would comment is Christy Lozano, who is running against Dr. Salcido in the June 7 primary.

She answered the News-Press’ questions about what should be done regarding students who are found guilty of the vandalism and are graduating seniors.

“I do believe that their diplomas should be withheld until there is restitution for the damages,” Ms. Lozano said, answering questions by email. “That is a reasonable consequence.”

She also said community service, including cleaning up the vandalism at Santa Barbara High School, would be a reasonable punishment for all students who are found guilty of the vandalism. “That should not fall on the backs of janitors.”

Ms. Lozano, a Santa Barbara Unified teacher on voluntary leave from Dos Pueblos High School, spoke to the larger issues surrounding the vandalism.

“Yes, behavior problems and discipline are at an all-time low in the Santa Barbara Unified School District,” she told the News-Press. “The union president was at the school board meeting several weeks ago begging the school board to do ‘something’ about the lack of discipline in the schools. She was right to do so.

“Because of the lack of discipline by the administration, the lesson for students is that there are ‘no consequences for bad behavior,’” Ms. Lozano said. “While I do not agree with or support what the SBHS students did to their campus, I do have to acknowledge that there is a huge responsibility for the administrators leading the schools and they have not been teaching the students that bad behaviors are wrong. They need to be held accountable, as well as, the students involved in this situation.

“I do hope everyone will take responsibility and be held accountable for each of their parts,” she said.

“Based on Education Code 1240, the (county) superintendent of schools has statutory authority over safety issues and facilities,” Ms. Lozano said.

She said that if elected superintendent, “I will work with all school districts as well as law enforcement to improve both safety and facilities. Like most people, I want students to have the freedom to have fun, blow off steam, and celebrate in a healthy, non-destructive way. Destruction of property crosses that line.”

Meanwhile, another school vandalism incident was reported, this one in Lompoc.

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a vandalism hate crime that occurred at Cabrillo High School.

Around 6 a.m. Tuesday, deputies were dispatched to the Lompoc school for a report of vandalism. The reported vandalism included racial slurs that were painted on walls, over murals and on windows, said Raquel Zick, the Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

Ms. Zick said concrete was poured in front of classroom doors in an attempt to prevent the doors from opening.

School Resource Deputy Dennis Thomas is conducting a follow-up investigation to this incident in coordination with Cabrillo High School administration.

Ms. Zick said anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact SRD Thomas by email at

If you prefer to remain anonymous, call the Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at 805-681-4171 or go online at

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