From today’s Maryland Gazette online:
The director of Grace Brethren Christian School in Clinton said that the destruction by fire of one of his school’s buses, apparently by vandals, knocked out vital transportation for students to and from athletic events and field trips.
‘‘Until we get another bus, it will be a major inconvenience,” said George Hornickel, head of the school. ‘‘We’ll have to purchase a new bus real soon… this brought down our capacity [for transporting students] by about one-third.”
About 800 students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend Grace Brethren Christian School. Parents are responsible for transporting them to class, but the school provides transportation to and from sporting events and on field trips.
The buses carry about 50 to 60 students. The fire was set the night of April 17.
Hornickel said he might have security cameras and lights installed around the bus lot to prevent further acts of vandalism.
Hornickel said that a new bus would cost about $90,000 so the school would likely try to purchase a used model in the $10,000 to $20,000 range.
Prince George’s County Fire⁄EMS Department investigators have not determined what actually caused the fire.
‘‘All they’ve said is that it’s under investigation,” said Mark Brady, fire⁄EMS spokesman. ‘‘Nothing has been ruled out.”
But Hornickel remains convinced that it was an act of vandalism and points to other acts on the campus that he believed occurred at the same time. He said a storage shed on the campus grounds had been broken into and paint cans were opened and their contents tossed about. A trash can there was also set on fire, Hornickel said.
Parents of preschoolers attending an evening church function found the bus on fire and contacted police and fire units, Hornickel said.
‘‘It’s fortunate they were here or else the other bus [next to the torched unit] could’ve caught on fire,” Hornickel said. ‘‘Fortunately no one was hurt.”