Elizabethton City School buses vandalized

Elizabethton City School buses vandalized

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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) -

Monday morning several Elizabethton school buses were vandalized. When a few buses started out on their routes this morning, the bus drivers quickly realized something was wrong. They turned around and headed back to the high school and it was there they discovered that the gas tank and tires had been tampered with.

Officials found sugar in the gas tanks of nine of the school buses. They also found two school buses with slashed tires.

"According to our out, exterior cameras, at approximately 1:30 this morning, three individuals had been placing sugar in the diesel gas tanks," said Director of Elizabethton Schools Ed Alexander. "The supervisor called me and we moved from there to notify via phone, via the school reach, parents that there would be no bus transportation today," said Alexander.

Alexander said the worst part of the incident is that the vandals put sugar in the gas tanks of buses for students with disabilities.

He said several other school districts sent buses to help with transporting students. He also said the cost of the damage is significant.

"It could well be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars based on engine replacement if it comes to that....we are a member of risk management and vandalism is covered under that. So we will be filing this with risk management," said Alexander.

Alexander is unsure when all the buses will be repaired. He said it depends on the availability of mechanics. School buses loaned to the district by surrounding systems will pick up students tomorrow.

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School is in session today, but the buses aren't running.

News Channel 11 confirmed with Elizabethton City Schools Superintendent Ed Alexander that some of the buses were vandalized. Alexander would not go into detail about how many buses or the damage. He did say they are assessing it this morning.

Several parents contacted us in the newsroom and on our Facebook page about the incident. One parent said the automated message system said buses would not be running Monday, because of the vandalism.

Alexander said no student would be counted tardy or absent.

We will continue to update you on this story as more information becomes available.

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