Who’s responsible? Student vandalism results in a quandary for clean-up


Emily Isenhour

HC faculty parking lot; the scene of the vandalism to HC social studies teacher Robbie Biddle’s car.

Evie Smith, Editor

Vandalism at HC has recently been more of an issue than in the past. However, the issue escalated significantly on Wednesday, April 20. HC social studies teacher Robbie Biddle’s car was vandalized with spray paint during the school day while parked in the faculty parking lot. Two students, neither of which Biddle currently teaches or has taught before, were found to be responsible. According to Principal Paul Little, the vandalizers have been caught and disciplined.

Biddle recounts when he heard the news. 

“[Administrators] came and got me out of my sixth hour, which is my planning period,” Biddle said. “We went out [to the parking lot,] and the officers were surveying the scene, and that’s when I learned about it- all the graffiti on the side of it, including a phallic symbol.”

Despite the car being vandalized during the school day and on school property, Fayette County Public Schools will not claim responsibility for the damage, causing Biddle to pay for it all. 

“They say it’s my responsibility to file with my insurance,” Biddle said, “even though it happened during the school day, on school property, by students who were supposed to be in class. I have to file my deductible, which once I do that, [the] insurance company raises your insurance premium. I’m going to have to take off work; I’m going to have to pay my deductible, and my premium is going to go up. It’s across the whole side of my car, so it actually might be totaled, as far as the damage to the side of it.”

Biddle has continued to drive the car, since he does not have another option. 

“I get a lot of looks,” Biddle said. “I drive to soccer practice and to my kids’ elementary school in the morning. I have a seven and eleven year old, and they saw it right away and they have to see it every day. I had to drive it to Richmond the other day, and on Sunday I finally bought some stuff to try and get some paint off the window side of [the car] because it was really hard to see on the interstate and I didn’t want to wreck. The way insurance works, [though,] if I mess it up then they aren’t going to pay for anything.”

As days pass since the incident, FCPS is continuing to deny responsibility.  Biddle has understandably become more stressed about the situation. However, he has received support from co-workers, as well as other people in the community who have learned about the situation, and have then offered help to fix up the vehicle.

“A homeowner who has someone hurt on their property is liable for that person,” HC teacher Paul Brown said. “It’s a shame that the district objects to supporting teachers in the face of abject property destruction.”

 “I’ve been here 17 years,” Little said, “and that’s one of the worst I’ve seen- the way his car was vandalized.” 

While the community rallies around Biddle, many are wondering why Central Office is not supporting its teachers in this situation.