The halls of Farmingdale High School were obviously shaken Friday morning after a vandal set off a firework in the glass commons that blew out a large window. Although the criminal act occurred early in the morning before the start of classes, police were at the school investigating until the hours of lunch. Fortunately no one was injured, but both faculty and students were left wondering what had caused the disturbance of an otherwise routine day.
There are suspicions that the destruction was caused by one or more students of the very school that was targeted. However, it may be difficult for detectives to catch the perpetrators because - let's face it - what teenager wants to rat on the school bully?
As many in the community know, this is not the first act of vandalism that has occurred at the high school in recent memory. Just before graduation in May, an explosive device was detonated in a school toilet bowl, causing a flood that destroyed the gym floor. The bleachers were also targeted by vandals, and had to be quickly repainted in time for the commencement ceremony. This rash of occurrences cannot be cured by one group of people. It must be addressed by many in the community - parents, school administrators, police and students. Farmingdale is not alone as a community with a vandalism problem. And the argument could be made that the problem is minor in comparison to many other areas. However, Farmingdale has much more to preserve than most communities, as illustrated by countless articles and photographs in this newspaper.
The high school, in particular, is filled with star students - including the five national merit "commended students," who earned preSAT scores high enough to rank them among the top 5 percent of the more than a million students who entered the 1998 Merit Competition. Other examples of high achievement can be seen in the budding musicians who spend hours practicing, who are active in the high school's TriM Music Honor Society, and who win accolades for their performance at the prestigious New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) competitions. Last year's class valedictorian, who went on to attend Harvard University, is another example, as are the school's athletes, who are known for bringing home trophies.
It is not fair to hardworking, ambitious students such as these, who certainly are the majority in the school, that a few should play pranks that decrease their feeling of security and damage the school that they hold dear. It is also unacceptable.