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Top 10 Stories: High School Rivalry Hits Breaking Point

Palos Verdes Patch is counting down its 10 biggest local stories from 2012. No. 4: Students come together after vandalism at Peninsula High School.

It's been a crazy year. Palos Verdes Patch writers were busy writing about vandalism at the local high school, a missing diver and panga landings, among other topics. Here is the No. 4 story of the year, chosen by popularity and editorial discretion.

Students Come Together After Vandalism at Peninsula High School (No. 4)

The vandalism of the all-weather track and bleachers at Peninsula High School and the subsequent detention of eight Palos Verdes High School students Nov. 2 served as a "wake-up call" that the rivalry between the two high schools had become too toxic, according to Peninsula High School Principal Mitzi Cress.

"(Over) the last maybe three years, it has just gotten to the point where (the rivalry)'s just become very unhealthy," Cress told Patch the day the vandalism was discovered.

Officials said the bleachers were painted red—a Palos Verdes High School color—and obscene messages were painted on the windscreens and the all-weather track. Deputies estimated the damages at $10,000.

Commenters on Palos Verdes Patch and elsewhere alleged that the vandalism was done in retaliation to vandalism a few days prior at Palos Verdes High School. According to Capt. Tony Best with the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department, students discovered that someone had used a sharp object to scratch 37 vehicles parked near the high school.

Best said in November there were no suspects in the Palos Verdes High School vandalism and that there was no evidence that the two vandalism incidents were related.

The incident at Peninsula High School prompted students from both high schools to join together at a summit Nov. 19 to discuss how to make the rivalry more positive. Officials saw the move as a good first step to preventing future incidents.

“I believe in the power of our youth and our students,” said Martin Griffin, the chief academic officer at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. “The student leaders say they want to transform the culture, and I think what they have come up with will lead to that end.”

Related:

  • Peninsula HS Vandalized; PV High Students Arrested
  • Students Aim to Heal Rift Between High Schools
  • Students' Statement on High School Rivalry

For more top stories from this year, click here.

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