Thieves Plunder East Oakland Elementary Campus

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Damage from weekend break-ins at Pride Elementary School in East Oakland. (CBS)

Damage from weekend break-ins at Pride Elementary School in East Oakland. (CBS)

OAKLAND (CBS 5) – Cleanup took the place of teaching Monday at East Oakland Pride Elementary Monday as the school tried to recover from the ransacking of 30 classrooms over the weekend.

During the break-ins the principal’s office door was smashed with an ax, and a safe in his office was stolen. Several projectors and eight top of the line Mac computers were yanked from the labs and classrooms. Older equipment was left behind.

“This is East Oakland, where they need it the most, and this is happening to them,” said First Grade Teacher Evelyn Ramerez. “All the resources we have, all these expensive tools, they’re now gone.”

The school is in one of the toughest, poorest sections of a tough and poor district. Teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on supplies every year, and now a lot of it has been taken or trashed.

Many at Pride feel the break-in was an inside job. The alarm was off. Thieves knew exactly where valuable stuff was, even the safe in the principals office.

“It’s always a consideration. We know they were here for a long time just because of the number of rooms that were hit and the equipment they took,” said Troy Flint of the Oakland Unified School District. “So obviously, that will cause you to look at the possibility there is some connection, but we can’t say just yet.”

This was not going to be a good week at East Oakland Pride anyway. District layoff notices go out tomorrow. This school will be among the hardest hit because many on the staff are first year teachers.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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