SIDNEY — The Council of Religious Education (CORE), in Sidney, would like to know who vandalized its bus and why.
Founded in 1921, CORE is a nonprofit organization that provides ethics education to Sidney’s first- through third-graders whose parents choose to have them participate in the training. The classes take place on the bus, which travels to Sidney City Schools for the 30-minute sessions each day.
During the summer, the bus is parked in an alley near Emerson Elementary School. The alley is not school property, but city property.
Sometime during the night of July 26, someone spray-painted “LEATHEL” in large black letters across five windows along the side of the bus. CORE President Scott Dorsey learned of the damage July 30 and reported it to the Sidney Police at that time. Damage is estimated at $1,000.
“We’re talking to insurance companies now, to see if they’ll cover any of it,” Dorsey told the Sidney Daily News, Tuesday. “This senseless act just breaks my heart for the children and for all of the volunteers who work so hard to keep this program running.”
The spray paint damaged bus windows that had been painted with pictures of children, animals, families and Jesus.
Police Officer Robert Hurd was dispatched to survey the damage. His report was filed the same day. The police marked the case closed on Aug. 2.
The police report listed the crime as a 5th-degree felony and stated that there were no suspects. Dorsey noted that about a year ago, a local individual had made threats against CORE and the bus. Dorsey said he had given the name of that individual to the police. There is nothing in the police report to indicate that anyone from the department talked with that individual or that any kind of investigation was undertaken.
Calls by the Sidney Daily News to the police department for additional information were not returned by press time.
During the school year, CORE’s mobile classroom serves 600 children each week.
“I’m hoping (the vandalism) is an isolated incident, just kids who can’t spell who had a can of paint,” Dorsey said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.