P.S. 73 Robbed Again, All Laptops Gone

While students and teachers enjoyed a three-day Memorial Day weekend, thieves went to work, hitting a Highbridge school for the second time in a week.

After enjoying the beautiful weather over the holiday, P.S. 73 faculty, staff and students returned to tje school on Tuesday, May 31 and discovered dozens of computers and electronic equipment stolen.

According to the school administration, this is the second time in a week that the school, located on 1020 Anderson Avenue, has been hit. Brand new electronic equipment was stolen, including 108 laptop computers that were used by the 950 students in the school.

Principal Jean Mirvil was heartbroken, for the students’ sake. He said that 27 laptops were stolen during the first robbery, but when school reopened after the extended weekend, the school was saddened to find 81 additional computers missing.

The theft of the computers is a major setback for the school, which teaches children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, says Mirvil.

“The youngsters cannot continue the work that they had started on those computers and the information that was stored can not be retrieved,” Mirvil said. “It certainly will be a challenge to complete the school year with only a few weeks remaining before the summer.”

Mirvil said that the students do a large portion of their assignments on the computers, which were fairly new and a vital addition to the school. Also, teachers lost all academic report cards, exams and student grades that were stored on the computers.

Police responded to the school and found that a window to the rear of the auditorium was shattered. They also found the auditorium’s sound system removed, as well as lighting equipment from the stage.

The first robbery took place just days before on Monday, May 23. Authorities are still investigating how the thieves may have entered the school, however, it was found that locks were cut inside the school to gain access to keys to open classroom doors.

“We wanted to be able to give our children proper computer education, but as of right now and the near future, we cannot provide that any longer,” Mirvil said. “It’s as if we have to start from scratch again, but we do not have time since the school year is over on June 28. It’s a sad time, but we have to do our best to keep our students on the right path.”

The computers were secured through a grant that P.S. 73 received, and Mirvil believes without any additional money it will be very hard to replace the equipment soon.

P.S. 73 staff members will be sitting down over the next two weeks to discuss ways that the school can raise money for new equipment. Mirvil is unsure as to how or when new money can be raised, but he is hoping something can be done for the 2011-2012 school year.

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