LEWISTON — Four local children were charged this week with causing more than $100,000 damage to the Gov. James B. Longley School by spray-painting floors, walls and equipment, and overturning and smashing desks, computers, appliances and plants.

Two 12-year-olds, a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old, all from Lewiston, were each charged with burglary and aggravated criminal mischief — both felonies — according to Lt. Derek St. Laurent of the Lewiston Police Department. They were released to the custody of their parents.

Administrators were notified by a roofing contractor of the damage Monday afternoon and found several young children in the building when they went to survey the damage. They were able to capture a video of the students fleeing the school.

The vandalism occurred from Sunday night into Monday afternoon, according to Superintendent Jake Langlais. Entry was through a smashed window.

School administrators discovered extensive damage Monday, three days after the school closed for the academic year. Paint was sprayed on floors, walls and equipment. Desks, computers, appliances, plants and other items were overturned and smashed. Every classroom that was unlocked was damaged, according to Langlais.

The Lewiston Police Department assisted with an investigation and identified the students responsible for the damage.


Officials estimate the damage will exceed $100,000, St. Laurent said. Some of the most expensive items destroyed include a touch-screen TV and a patient simulation mannequin used to train nursing students to take blood pressure and other skills. The high-tech mannequin alone costs thousands of dollars.

Spray-painted walls and damaged items litter a hall Monday at the Gov. James B. Longley School on Birch Street in Lewiston. Four Lewiston youths ages 10 t0 14 have been charged in the vandalism, estimated at more than $100,000,  police said. Submitted photo

“These are spaces that have been developed with great pride, built up to support our students and community for the betterment of the whole,” Langlais wrote in an email to the Sun Journal. “I believe we have no better opportunity to restore it to something that is better than its prior condition.”

“I will be honest, I cried when I saw (the photos of the damage),” City Councilor and School Committee member Linda Scott said Tuesday night. “I was very upset, very saddened.”

St. Laurent called the vandalism “a slap in the face” to the district’s students and staff who have worked hard to improve education opportunities in the community, adding that the children are “just ruining it for themselves.”

“Our children NEED supervision this summer,” School Committee member Janet Beaudoin wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “They need adults to look out for them, know their whereabouts and hold them accountable when they make poor decisions.”

Langlais said the district will work with its insurer to see how much of the damage is covered.


“We are so very appreciative of the community’s response to help bring Longley back to the vibrant place it is,” Langlais wrote on social media.

The district is not able to have staff or volunteers on site, however officials will invite volunteers when appropriate, he added.

The school was previously used as an elementary school and community center. Now, the building houses Lewiston’s adult education program and NextSTEP, a middle and high school program born from a collaboration between Tree Street Youth and the Lewiston school district.

Rising to meet community needs, NextSTEP added a middle school program and doubled its enrollment this past year to 65 students. It was the school’s third year in operation.

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