Vandals wreck preschool playground and garden

ALBANY, Ore. - Vandals have repeatedly hit Maple Lawn School this month, damaging playground equipment, trees - even the preschool garden.

"They've hacked trees," said preschool teacher Debbi Richards. "We found a large kitchen knife that preschoolers found the next day. We also found gasoline in pop cans and bottles which they used to burn."

School officials have found graphic grafitti, burns on the playground equipment, chunks of concrete taken out, and the children's plants torn out of the planters.

Parents say the vandalism is just mean.

"They should be able to go and find something else to do to entertain themselves besides destroying little kids equipment and uprooting plants," said parent Ryan Thurman.

The vandals ruined the school slide, too, by punching out the bolts.

"I think it's awful their slide is broken, it's one of Taylor's favorite things to play on," parent Amanda Hobson said.

School officials said they've installed flood lights to discourage vandals and spoken to neighbors to keep an eye on the playground while children are away.