NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — Backyard rivalries are always intense, but students at a local high school are now accused of taking their dislike for their top rival a step too far.
The 12 seniors at Dover High School are now the focus of an investigation into acts of vandalism at nearby New Philadelphia High School.
Police said vandals spray-painted newly installed customized window film at the high school and a middle school early Friday morning.
The specialized window tint includes images of the school mascot, the Quaker, and messages about what is expected of students, including responsibility and respect.
Damage to the tinted windows could approach $18,000.
“If it was just on the window, a razor blade or turpentine or mineral spirits would take it off,” said New Philadelphia Principal Dr. Doug Baker. “However, since these screens are placed on the outside of the windows, the paint that was used bled into those.”
Surveillance cameras at the high school captured images of the vandals, and based on the shirts they were wearing, they were quickly identified as students at New Philadelphia’s No.1 rival, Dover High School.
The dozen Dover seniors could now face criminal charges, as well as disciplinary action.
Both school districts are now using the incident as a teaching moment about the true meaning of rivalry.
“Our seniors were obviously upset about this because word spread that it was from our rival school. The majority was cleaned up before they got here, so they did not see the full extent of that.” said Baker. “But we did have a conversation about not doing any type of retaliation and taking the higher ground.”