Theater students and their teacher are mourning the destruction of the Crook County High School auditorium stage curtains after vandals sliced the material.
"My kids were incensed because we take care of that space. That's our space — that's our baby," said CCHS theater teacher Anita Hoffman Friday afternoon. "It breaks my heart."
The vandalism was discovered Sunday morning, Sept. 3, and a police report was filed.
"We did respond to a report of vandalism at the auditorium, which is still under investigation," said Prineville Police Sgt. James Peterson last week. "An unidentified suspect or suspects damaged the curtains in the auditorium sometime over the weekend."
The curtains were purchased in 2015 for $20,851, said Crook County School District Business Manager Anna Logan. The purchase was funded with bond proceeds.
The stage has six sets of curtains — 12 individual pieces — and four of those were sliced, leaving gaping holes of various sizes in the fabric.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the first day of school, Hoffman and a theater student opened up all the curtains so they could determine which ones were damaged, and the student shared the news with classmates.
"Kids came in, drifted in through the day to mourn it and to look at it," Hoffman said.
The cyclorama, the heavyweight muslin curtain at the back of the stage, was hit the hardest, with multiple slashes.
"That's our beautiful white curtain," Hoffman said. "It is our scenic device that we can put color on."
Two leg drop curtains were slashed, and Hoffman said, "The main drape had two big gigantic slashes through it."
Hoffman felt the vandalism was "such a naughty thing to do."
CCHS Principal Michelle Jonas said the district is making it a priority to replace the curtains and is filing a claim with the insurance company.
"When someone steals something, it still makes you mad, but you kind of feel like maybe they really need it, but straight vandalism is so frustrating," Jonas said.