Irvington Classroom Door Vandalization


The P-wing, room 84, and Valhalla were a few of the many buildings that were found to have putty in the door locks. Though most of it was cleaned out by the district maintenance team in the morning, a follow-up email noted concerns about residual stickiness.

On Nov. 12, 2021, many of Irvington High School’s outside classrooms were found to have gray putty stuck in the locks, blocking staff from entering; maintenance staff were called from the district to assist with the issue. Affected areas included the new building, the outside portables (2-16), the far portables (9-16), Valhalla, the library, and classrooms along the horseshoe.

Around half a dozen maintenance staff arrived on campus to manage the problem due to its scope and severity. Luckily, their quick action ensured that doors were unstuck in time for class. A few side doors were left untouched, so staff were able to prop them open and access other parts of the buildings. 

According to Principal Nathania Chaney-Aiello, the problem was identified around 6:30 a.m. by a teacher who works in the new building. No inside doors were affected; the perpetrators targeted exterior doors that were easily accessible. The maintenance team worked until around 9:00 a.m. 

“[The putty] was hardened by the time we got here this morning. So they basically took a knife, scraped off the front, and then they just started picking it out,” explained Chaney-Aiello. “Then they sprayed in a couple of different types of chemicals to try and dissolve the rest.” 

“Anytime [vandalism] happens, […] we just make a call to the district office and tell them the problem,” said Ross McCalley, one of Irvington’s campus supervisors. “They send people out depending on how bad the problem was.”

While some teachers experienced this issue directly when entering campus, others, such as the school librarian Ms. McAuley, found out through email. A notification was sent out to alert Irvington staff about the door vandalization and assure them that maintenance was working on it. 

“They got people [from the district] to come down here really fast,” said McAuley. “We have a lot of kids in [the library] in the morning, and it would have been really unfortunate if we had to turn them away.” Fortunately, a side door provided an entrance to the library that allowed for the other doors to be opened.

Chaney-Aiello noted that some wondered if the vandalism was a senior prank, though she thought that was unlikely. McAuley pointed to student mental health as a potential reason; the pandemic and subsequent return to in-person schooling have taken a toll on everyone. The full rationale is still unclear, and no suspects have been confirmed.