Update: Academy blames small minority of adults for trouble at old Orwell High open evening
09:23 19 March 2014
Prosecutions for criminal damage could be made if police identify adults who turned a chance for former students to have a last look round their old school into an evening of mayhem.
Photographs of the writing and graffiti daubed on the school walls – which included names and lewd images – have been passed to the police, who are also understood to be studying Facebook sites.
Officials at Felixstowe Academy, which hosted the evening for former students and teachers of the town’s old Orwell High School, have been left deeply disappointed at the behaviour on Monday evening – but say only a few were to blame.
A Felixstowe Academy spokesman said: “There was a terrific response from the local community with hundreds of people taking the chance to look at archive material on display, and to meet with former teachers and schoolfriends in a nostalgic walk down memory lane.
“Overwhelmingly the response to the event was positive, with visitors representing over 60 years of association of the three legacy schools.
“Many people took the opportunity of taking photographs and video of former classrooms and corridors as part of their own personal archive of memories.
“Unfortunately the evening had to be brought to a close earlier than planned due to health and safety concerns resulting from the setting off of fire alarms.
“Whilst staff at the academy tried to identify if the evening could resume, it became clear that the evening was unable to continue and visitors were informed that the building had to be closed.
“Sadly a very small minority of adult visitors took it upon themselves to smoke within the building and write graffiti on the walls, causing vandalism to an operating school.
“We are extremely grateful and proud of our staff and students who had given up their time to support this event, and for volunteering to stay and clean vandalised areas to ensure the academy was open as usual today.”
The academy cancelled last night’s similar event at its Garrison Campus, the former Deben High School, after advice from the police.
The spokesman said: “The academy will work with members of the community to arrange a display of archive material in future at a date not yet set.
“Felixstowe Academy is still committed to developing community links and will work at finding future opportunities to allow the majority of genuine past students to experience the evening we had set to achieve.”