Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Vandalism of building is disappointing
On the night of March 14, a piece of Jackson County's history - the former George Washington Carver School, which was once the only black high school in the county - was damaged by a fire. The blaze destroyed the east wing of the historic building. Then, March 17, another smaller fire was reported at the building's gymnasium.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in either fire. After the second fire, two 14-year-olds were arrested after witnesses reported seeing the juveniles leaving the scene. No arrests have been made in the first fire, but witnesses said that fire seemed suspicious, too.
This is not the first time that the location, which Jackson County residents have been working to have designated as a historical site, has suffered vandalism, said Edna Police Chief Clinton Wooldridge after the second fire. Vandalism at the location has increased over the past few years. Much of it is graffiti and broken windows. It happens so frequently that the current owners of the building don't even call the police about it anymore.
This is a sad and sobering fact to hear. The George Washington Carver School was an integral part of Jackson County's story of education, segregation and integration. The lack of respect given to this piece of history is upsetting, to say the least. It begs the question, where are the parents of these juveniles who routinely vandalize a piece of their community's history? Parents have a responsibility to teach their children responsibility and morality. An integral part of that is respecting the property of others. It is painfully obvious that many young people in Jackson County do not possess or understand that respect when what should be a treasured historical site becomes a constant target for graffiti and thrown rocks. Every added tag or broken window is another example of the failure of a parent to teach their children right from wrong, and we are sad to see it manifesting at the expense of the former George Washington Carver School building.
This vandalism of a historic treasure must stop. We encourage parents to make a concerted effort to teach their children and teenagers right from wrong. In addition, we hope the Jackson County community will be able to pull together to repair the damage done by these fires. The story of this school building is one that should be passed on for future generations.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.